26 sleeps. Day 11. The right to be heard

If you run as a candidate in an election, does that give you a right to be heard in the media, no matter how offensive your policies might be?
It was the subject of a lengthy discussion between the 666 breakfast team today. It stemmed from the comments of independent candidate Philip Pocock, who wants all gay sex outlawed, wants it to be legal for homosexuals to be discriminated against, and has drawn up a list of Philip Pocock’s laws relating to pre-marital sex, infidelity and divorce.
Fortunately we were spared having to make the decision whether to give Pocock airtime, because we have decided against interviewing every independent every time they release a policy. Once you interview one, you are obligated to interview all.
But let’s say we didn’t have that policy. Could we, as the ABC, refuse to interview a candidate because we found his views offensive or hurtful to some members of the community? Or do we have an obligation to put all views on the table?
Is it up to us to decide which candidates are crackpots who should be ignored? After all, there have been plenty of examples in Australian political history of loons being elected to parliaments. Some are still there now. For every absolutely bonkers politician you have to assume there are followers who are just as balmy. So can we refuse to give them airtime?
As I said, I’m glad I didn’t have to make that call today. We live in a country where we cherish our democracy and free speech. But I’ve always argued that right comes with responsibility.
At a later stage Philip Pocock, along with every other candidate, will get his chance to have his say on the 666 breakfast show. He’ll get two minutes to convince the voters of Molonglo that he’d be a worthy addition to the legislative assembly. Two minutes and two minutes only.
But his views are certainly out there. What do you think? On the strength of that, should we give him more coverage? Or should he be censored?

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Australian film director Cate Shortland and someone who has, surprisingly, never appeared in one of her movies. This picture has nothing to do with the above story. I just felt like showing off.

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3 responses to “26 sleeps. Day 11. The right to be heard

  1. I think it’s important for people to be aware that he’s not just a bigot as far as ho.mose.xuals are concerned, but the rest of his policies will effect people who might vote for him because they “hate po.ofters” too!

    He wants to ban all pre-marital s/ex. No s/ex until there’s a ring on that finger, guys!

    He wants to ban all non-va.gi.nal s.ex; No more oral se.x or an.al for Straights either!

    He wants to have Catholic standards of marriage enforced; If you get divorced, if you are silly enough to remarry, you can’t have s.ex with your new spouse if the former spouse is still alive! That makes you an adulterer.

    That won’t see a climb in people killing their wife/husband or anything…

    It never occurred to my father that he was an adulterer for marrying my mother. She divorced her physically abusive first husband, but he was still alive. I shouldn’t exist!

  2. Honestly… as much as I support free speech, there is a limit to what can be tolerated. Hateful speech such as the … rubbish that Mr. Pocock came out with hurts people, intentionally or not.

    He speaks of the ostracisation of the LGBT “community” from the “community”, without thinking for a moment that in doing so, he’s doing the exact same thing that he’s blaming us for. The moment that you draw the line between people as whole, and LGBT people; there is an issue. Regardless of your sexuality, you are a person, and a part of your community. To break community classifications up in to sexualities is just plain wrong.

    Mr. Pocock wants to drag us back in to the Dark Ages when it comes to human sexuality. How dare he try to tell people who they can express their love with, and how they can do it.

    While it is true that some people can be confused about their sexuality, to the point that it affects them negatively, emotionally, mentally, and sometimes even physically – the same CANNOT be said for all people, and to try to make blanket statements like that, after all the progress that humanity in general has made to be at the point we’re currently at… it just saddens me.

    It would be no great loss to me if Mr. Pocock had no airtime to grandstand his harmful views, but unfortunately the ABC has a policy of being fair and even handed in matters like this. 😛

  3. As repugnant and repellant as Pocock’s views are, if you are intending to interview each candidate you are bound in the interest of fairness to interview Pocock. I do not imagine he will do anything other than to remove all doubt of the stupidity of his views.

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