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Brendan O’Neill has an article in The Australian today which hits the nail fair square on the head in regards to the real issue that most commentators have missed when discussing freedom of speech here in Australia.

His article is behind evil Rupert’s pay wall, so if you only consume your media from those organisations that don’t charge for it (mainly because no sane person would pay for it) then you would miss out on these pearls of wisdom.

Think about freedom of speech: who does it really confer moral authority upon? It isn’t writers and publishers, since we all know that having the right and means to produce content doesn’t mean you’ll produce something sensible; the freest writers can churn out the most errant crap.

Rather, freedom of speech confers moral authority upon the public, the audience, the reader, who, it is brilliantly implied, is so rational and capable of grown-up thought that he may be subjected to every claim and belief that exists and be able to work out for himself which is valuable and which is not.

Press freedom is fundamentally an expression of trust in ordinary people – which means assaults on press freedom are, at heart, assaults on ordinary people.

Are you someone that feels that Joe Sixpack and Iva Burger are too stupid to think for themselves, unable to discern opinion from fact?

Or are you confident that ordinary people who work and toil in all walks of life are capable of making their own minds up?

Do you need a government appointed, faceless bureaucrat to tell you what your “community standards” are or are you someone who is more in touch with your own sense of right and wrong, and common sense?

I know which camp I fall into. What about you?

Brendan O’Neill is the Editor of Spiked Online.