The right of freedom of speech is ‘the right to hold opinions without interference, and cannot be subject to any exception or restriction’.
Earlier this year in April, SBS soccer reporter, Scott McIntyre tweeted five times about Australia’s participation in several wars around the world. McIntyre had his own personal views on the ANZAC’s and this was not taken into consideration. SBS had terminated McIntyre’s position as ‘effective immediately’ as it ‘breached the networks Code of Conduct and social media policy.’
While tweeting about his views on the ANZAC’s, McIntyre was not officially working. As this being his personal twitter account, McIntyre should technically have been allowed to post about anything he feels and in this sense, his freedom of speech has been abolished so that the reputation of the SBS network may still stand strong.
There is some truth to his madness, it can be found that some Australian’s do use ANZAC day as an excuse to allow themselves to be able to do things that they wouldn’t be able to do regularly.
However, his tweets were extremely disrespectful to the people that ‘fought for our freedom’, their families and Australian’s in general. The tweet above would be enough to have his job terminated. This leads to the following question: where does journalist’s freedom of speech stand?
With more than 30,000 followers on his Twitter account, McIntyre has a large audience reading his content online. These people, more than likely are reading his tweets to gain some knowledge about the world of journalism and getting the proper insight into one’s professional opinion. When a ‘professional’ journalist is unable to give their own opinion on a national matter, it raises the question of the boundaries of freedom of speech and when the line is being crossed.
Written by: Jade Fitzpatrick.