Self-censorship and the press

In the Sydney Morning Herald, the IPA’s James Paterson answers the question: should the media censor the trial of Anders Breivik?

The government certainly shouldn’t. If we value the principle of freedom of speech then it should not be illegal to air Breivik’s trial. But that principle says nothing about what private media companies should do.

The media – like everybody – has a moral duty to exercise restraint, particularly when it comes to relaying views as disgusting as Breivik’s. It is understandable that many people would not want to see Breivik granted a platform for his views. Ultimately, whether to cover Breivik’s trial is an editorial judgement to be made by individual news outlets.

Yet it is not clear what would be gained if the media did decide to collectively suppress the broadcast of his trial.

Read the whole thing here.

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