Recently I became the subject of highly fictional and defamatory comments relating mostly to my profession, published by an anonymous online blogger.
The reason I became the subject of such an attack was because I had publicly defended and declared my support for Serge Benhayon, Universal Medicine and my fellow students – themselves the subject of unwarranted attacks by the media, including numerous false accusations that Universal Medicine is a cult
As noted on our government’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship website, all Australians are entitled to five fundamental freedoms: of speech, association, assembly, religion, and movement. The first of these supports the notion that all individuals have the right to speak freely on any issue. There are, however, clear parameters for doing so. The following passage on freedom of speech, from the five freedoms web page, clarifies this distinction. Here is the first part:
‘Australians are free, within the bounds of the law, to say or write what we think privately or publicly, about the government, or about any topic. We do not censor the media and may criticise the government without fear of arrest.’
So far, so good. The rights of all bloggers to say or write what they think are clearly upheld in this definition; it’s what’s enabling me to comment here. But note the second part of the passage (bolding is mine):
‘Free speech comes from facts, not rumours, and the intention must be constructive, not to do harm. There are laws to protect a person’s good name and integrity against false information. There are laws against saying or writing things to incite hatred against others because of their culture, ethnicity or background. Freedom of speech is not an excuse to harm others.’
The blogger/s who saw fit to attack me in an entirely false and defamatory fashion have clearly done harm. However, by hiding behind a cloak of anonymity, the person or persons responsible are free to evade prosecution.
We need to lobby our leaders and law-makers to take a stand against such activity by outlawing cyber-bullying immediately. If we can’t identify and pursue the abusers, we should at least be able to have harmful and defamatory material rapidly removed from the offending sites.
Meanwhile, I can only wonder at the nature of the individuals who express in such a way. By remaining nameless, they either demonstrate they lack the courage of their convictions or have a seasoned understanding of the law – or both.
By Victoria Lister, Brisbane, Australia