Wednesday, September 24, 2008
free speech and bad press
In Queensland a man (Ron Owen) has been ordered to pay compensation to three members of his community and issue an apology in the paper after he offended much of his town with his anti-homosexual bumper sticker, along with comments he made publicly.
read the full story here.
The judge was quoted as saying, "Ron Owen is entitled to be a homophobe and he is entitled to publicly express his homophobic views," he said. "That much is required in a society that values freedom of thought and expression. However, there are limits."
While the car was not registered to Ron Owen he had access to the vehicle and is being held accountable for the bumper sticker. He is also being held accountable for his words he spoke in a council meeting (which there is no record of) when the issue of the bumper sticker came up in the meeting."If a person chooses to follow non-human acts, if they break the law, they lose their human rights."
I have no love of this man's views but it seems that the reporting of this story is lacking some some facts. Either that or the local law is more swayed by public opinion than fact.
If he did not own the vehicle are they certain that the bumper sticker was applied by him? are they expressing his views? If the court heard evidence of this, than the news report should express this!
If the quote he said in council was not recorded, were there witnesses that corroborate this story? If so, why aren't they mentioned in the article! This is either a shoddy piece of writing or a shoddy piece of law. It is sad that i can't tell which.