top of page
  • Writer's pictureSam Wilks

The Dilemma of Free Speech and Censorship: A Closer Look at Social Media Dynamics in Australia

In a democratic society, the principle of free speech collides with the enforcement of censorship, revealing deep-seated tensions about governance, security, and the role of social media. This conflict has recently come to light as a result of an incident involving a viral video on a well-known social media platform, Twitter, or the newly named X. The video, which captured a failed domestic terrorist attack by an individual described as an Australian born Muslim extremist on an Orthodox Christian priest in Australia, has stirred controversy and legal action from Australian officials.

One must consider the sovereignty of social media companies in relation to the nations in which they operate. Despite operating internationally, the laws of the nation in which they are based are primarily in control of social media platforms. In this case, the platform is an American entity, where free speech is heavily protected under the First Amendment. This legal framework starkly contrasts with the laws in Commonwealth countries, including Australia, which have more restrictive regulations concerning speech and the dissemination of certain content. In Australia, we have compelled speech, not free speech.

In Australia, there are specific laws aimed at combating hate speech and encouraging social harmony. These laws mandate the removal of content considered incendiary or harmful. The conflict arises when such domestic laws clash with the policies of international social media platforms that prioritise freedom of expression. In Australia, an unelected appointment from the ruling party makes determinations and uses the government appointed judicial members to enforce their wanton directions. Any reasonable person would see this as a dangerous erosion of democracy.

Social media has transcended its role as a mere communication tool, becoming a significant public sphere for discourse and a facilitator of globalisation. It allows for the instantaneous spread of information and ideas across borders, challenging traditional governance models that rely on controlling information flows within geographic boundaries. The incident in question demonstrates the challenges faced by national governments in regulating content that may have been produced and disseminated from outside their jurisdiction. In this situation, the content was shot locally on several mobile phones that recorded the incident as it took place and a live stream from the church.

In the realm of information dissemination, Australia has witnessed a discernible shift from traditional government and mainstream media channels to social media platforms. This shift reflects a broader scepticism towards conventional news sources. Concurrently, since 2021, Australia has experienced approximately 90,000 excess deaths attributed to iatrogenesis. Moreover, instances where police actions, such as the shooting of pregnant woman with rubber bullets at a protest advocating for freedom, a protest ironically held at a memorial honoring those who died for that very ideal, underscore the intensifying tension between public authority and individual rights.

The response of the Australian government, involving legal actions against the social media platform, has sparked debates on hypocrisy and the selective enforcement of laws. Critics argue that while the government takes a strong stance against certain types of content, it may simultaneously engage in or overlook other contentious activities, such as the alleged funding of foreign terrorist groups through international aid. This juxtaposition raises questions about the consistency and fairness of the Albanese government's actions concerning free speech and censorship.

The tension between free speech and censorship is not merely a legal issue but also a significant cultural and societal concern. It affects how societies define norms and values and how they handle the conflict between individual rights and collective security. Moreover, the role of social media companies in this delicate balance is increasingly under scrutiny. Should they act merely as platforms providing neutral grounds for all voices, or must they take a more active role in policing content based on the varying laws and cultural norms of the countries they serve?

Society generally accepts the censorship of pornography and certain types of violent content, deploying age restrictions and other regulatory measures to manage exposure. Nevertheless, the delineation of what constitutes 'hate speech' remains a contentious issue, largely due to the ambiguity surrounding who gets to define it. Frequently, the government shows an aversion to speech that casts its operations in an unfavourable light, branding such critiques as potentially hateful. This inclination to suppress criticism has done little to amend the behaviours of incompetence, ineptitude, and corruption it often seeks to conceal.

In reflecting on these events and the broader implications for free speech and censorship, it is clear that social media platforms face an intricate web of legal and ethical challenges. As nations grapple with these issues, the principles of governance, liberty, and security continue to be tested. The case in Australia serves as a critical example of how global digital platforms can become battlegrounds for these fundamental societal debates, where the intersection of diverse cultures and the rapid spread of digital technology pose unique challenges and opportunities for shaping the future of public discourse.

It is strikingly clear that the Australian government lacks the moral standing to criticise other nations or individuals who adhere to their own moral and ethical convictions. Observing the often incoherent utterances of many elected officials, one could argue that more coherent arguments are found in the least expected of places—even, perhaps, in the echoes of a bowel movement.

From the author.

The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

1 view0 comments


bottom of page