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Free speech and attendant responsibilities

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This is a topic which we all should have had long ago. It came up in another thread regarding a separate issue. So here we can discuss freedom of speech/expression and its meaning. [If anyone feels that there was/is something pertinent that I have missed from the other discussion, please feel free to bring it forward.

"If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for those we despise, we don’t believe in it at all." - Noam Chomsk 

bcsapper wrote: ... Freedom of expression/speech is something I value very highly.  Even that which disgusts me.  Of course, expressing disgust is also freedom of expression. 

bcsapper wrote: I don't often start threads.  I'm always afraid no-one will answer it.

I think Noam Chomsky's quote says it very well, without the obvious provisors about incitement to violence and shouting "fire" etc.  Most people accept those as a given. 

A couple of examples come to mind.  A long time poster who has now, sadly, left of hs own free will, used to post this cartoon to illustrate his views on Freedom of Speech:

free_speech.png

Which also seems to state the case very well.  Of course, the right to call those doing the boycotting assholes is equally valid.

The other example is the strange case of the student and Fabrice Muamba.  Fabrice was a footballer for Bolton Wanderers who died during a game against Spurs a few years back.  He was brought back to life by the prompt attendance of emergency crews and a doctor who happened to be attending the game.  A student at the University of Swansea, I believe, tweeted about how happy he was Fabrice had died, and included some awful racial slurs into the bargain. (Fabrice is black)  

Twitter banned him.  Fair enough, see the cartoon. 

The University of Swansea kicked him out. Fair enough, see the cartoon. 

He was charged with hate speech, found guilty, and sent to jail.  Utterly, completely ridiculous.  See the cartoon.  See what Noam said.

--------------------------------------------

Let the games begin!

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Freedom of speech is a fact and right and trying to prevent it is a crime.

Public places, be private or be state owned, would not prevent people to speak as they wish, if these places claims of being defender of free speech. 

Because this is complately contradictory and hypocritical. If someones claims of being defender of free speech, they have to defend it everywhere, they would not say "I believe in free speech but I dont want you to allow in my Facebook to speak freely." 


Someone would only want not to be disturbed in their private places, for example in their home, in their car or in their private forums or private social media. 


Another important point is that free speech does not include personal attack and insult. People have right to speak freely and people have also right to live in peace without being attacked by others. 


 

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4 hours ago, Altai said:

Freedom of speech is a fact and right and trying to prevent it is a crime.

Public places, be private or be state owned, would not prevent people to speak as they wish, if these places claims of being defender of free speech. 

Because this is complately contradictory and hypocritical. If someones claims of being defender of free speech, they have to defend it everywhere, they would not say "I believe in free speech but I dont want you to allow in my Facebook to speak freely." 


Someone would only want not to be disturbed in their private places, for example in their home, in their car or in their private forums or private social media. 


Another important point is that free speech does not include personal attack and insult. People have right to speak freely and people have also right to live in peace without being attacked by others. 


 

Donald Trump would disagree on that last point there.

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16 hours ago, Altai said:

Another important point is that free speech does not include personal attack and insult.

Yes, it does....   otherwise it's not really free speech. 

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27 minutes ago, The_Squid said:

Yes, it does....   otherwise it's not really free speech. 

This is one of the controversial issues in Canada.  There are laws against so-called "hate speech" in Canada.  But a lot depends on how one determines what the law is saying. Theoretically the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression.  But there are some laws which seem to limit it in certain situations.   We will have to do some searching on the internet to determine exactly what the limitations mean.

Quote

"

 

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1 hour ago, blackbird said:

Theoretically the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression.

Not really. See section 1. It just gives the illusion that we have freedom of speech/expression.

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14 hours ago, bcsapper said:

Donald Trump would disagree on that last point there.

 

As would President Donald Trump's worst critics.   

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12 minutes ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

 

As would President Donald Trump's worst critics.   

Yeah, I meant as victim, not perpetrator. 

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8 hours ago, JamesHackerMP said:

how far do these hate-speech laws in Canada go?

From Wikipedia:

Sections 318, 319, and 320 of the Code forbid hate propaganda.[3] "Hate propaganda" means "any writing, sign or visible representation that advocates or promotes genocide or the communication of which by any person would constitute an offence under section 319."

But 'discrimination' can be assessed by Provincial Human Rights commissions, which has been flagged by many as a restriction of freedom of expression.  This comedian was fined $35K for making fun of a disabled child:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/mike-ward-verdict-1.3688089

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So who has the ultimate authority to interpret or enforce this law? the provincial Human Rights Commissions?

Edited by JamesHackerMP

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11 hours ago, JamesHackerMP said:

So who has the ultimate authority to interpret or enforce this law? the provincial Human Rights Commissions?

I believe the provincial HRCs have the authority to railroad people regardless of the law, but if the person being railroaded has enough money, they can appeal it to a real court.

Edited by bcsapper

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30 minutes ago, JamesHackerMP said:

wow....just wow.

I wouldn't take what sapper says too seriously.  They've "railroaded' complainants as well as defendants.   But generally, people only remember their side being 'railroaded'.

In BC they recently agreed that restaurants could not require women to wear high heels.  I think that was a good decision, personally, but perhaps men who like seeing women in high heels would disagree.

Here's some actual cases, which might give you a better idea of the kinds of cases HRCs deal with:

http://greggowe.com/content/the-top-10-human-rights-cases-canada

 

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6 hours ago, dialamah said:

I wouldn't take what sapper says too seriously.  They've "railroaded' complainants as well as defendants.   But generally, people only remember their side being 'railroaded'.

In BC they recently agreed that restaurants could not require women to wear high heels.  I think that was a good decision, personally, but perhaps men who like seeing women in high heels would disagree.

Here's some actual cases, which might give you a better idea of the kinds of cases HRCs deal with:

http://greggowe.com/content/the-top-10-human-rights-cases-canada

 

I read one of the cases where a railway fired an engineer who had been tested and found with cocaine in his system.  An arbitrator ruled the railway had to reinstate the employee.  The railway is fighting this in court saying forcing them to employ an engineer who was found taking cocaine puts the safety of everyone at risk.  Apparently in Canada there is no requirement for railways to do random drug tests of employees.  In the U.S. it is required to test.  Not having a mandatory random testing program for employees in critical jobs puts the public at risk.  This is incredible.

Edited by blackbird

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25 minutes ago, blackbird said:

I read one of the cases where a railway fired an engineer who had been tested and found with cocaine in his system.  An arbitrator ruled the railway had to reinstate the employee.  The railway is fighting this in court saying forcing them to employ an engineer who was found taking cocaine puts the safety of everyone at risk.  Apparently in Canada there is no requirement for railways to do random drug tests of employees.  In the U.S. it is required to test.  Not having a mandatory random testing program for employees in critical jobs puts the public at risk.  This is incredible.

 

I agree; if someone is using drugs on the job, they should be fired.  

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15 minutes ago, dialamah said:

I agree; if someone is using drugs on the job, they should be fired.  

What about doctors?

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1 minute ago, dialamah said:

What about them? 

 

They use drugs on the job all the time.  Nurses too.

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3 minutes ago, bcsapper said:

They use drugs on the job all the time.  Nurses too.

And if they're caught, they should be fired.

Although, it occurs to me late that I'd probably support getting their job back if they successfully rehabbed.  I really was just taking the opportunity to agree with Blackbird because I so rarely do.

_____ 

Wait a minute: in what context are you saying "using drugs"????

 

Edited by dialamah

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7 hours ago, JamesHackerMP said:

wow....just wow.

 

7 hours ago, dialamah said:

I wouldn't take what sapper says too seriously. 

I would. It's true that not every case they ever heard was dumb, it's just that they have no problem hearing cases that are dumb.  But it's not only that, the whole system is different from a court of law and it is biased towards those making the claim.  The HRC is not there to be fair, but to be an adcvocate itself.  An accuser can bring a case against you, and the HRC will fund them.    You will have to fund yourself.  So in the unlikely event the HRC finds in your favour, you have still been fined.

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8 minutes ago, dialamah said:

And if they're caught, they should be fired.

Although, it occurs to me late that I'd probably support getting their job back if they successfully rehabbed.  I really was just taking the opportunity to agree with Blackbird because I so rarely do.

_____ 

Wait a minute: in what context are you saying "using drugs"????

 

I'm sorry, dodgy joke at the best of times.

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Just now, bcsapper said:

 

I would. It's true that not every case they ever heard was dumb, it's just that they have no problem hearing cases that are dumb. 

 

I think that has something to do with ensuring that everyone is entitled to ensure their rights are protected.  

Quote

But it's not only that, the whole system is different from a court of law and it is biased towards those making the claim.  The HRC is not there to be fair, but to be an adcvocate itself.  An accuser can bring a case against you, and the HRC will fund them.    You will have to fund yourself.  So in the unlikely event the HRC finds in your favour , you have still been fined.

5

An offset to the way in which organizations can use their superior financial resources to break the law.

Nothing is perfect, but it's better than giving the poor and downtrodden absolutely no voice.

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2 minutes ago, bcsapper said:

I'm sorry, dodgy joke at the best of times.

In person I'm sure I'd have figured it out - it was cute and I'm usually pretty quick.  Online, an emoticon helps. :)

 

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1 minute ago, dialamah said:

I think that has something to do with ensuring that everyone is entitled to ensure their rights are protected.  

An offset to the way in which organizations can use their superior financial resources to break the law.

Nothing is perfect, but it's better than giving the poor and downtrodden absolutely no voice.

I have to disagree.  There is such a think as a frivolous case, and such does not need to be heard.  If a case should be heard, the courts should hear it such that all sides are represented equally.  That someone can afford to blow a couple of thousand dollars on lawyers is not a good reason to make them do so.

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