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News Opinion/Commentary

Leave Greta Thunberg alone!

On the 1976 album, Alice Goes to Hell, Alice Cooper made a plea: Give the kid a break.

Alice Cooper: Alice goes to hell CD
The title of the sixth song summarises the Greta Thunberg quite well: Give the kid a break!

This summarises how I feel about the treatment of sixteen – year – old Swedish climate change activist, Greta Thunberg.

She gained global attention last year when she did a protest outside her school.

This year, Thunberg initiated the Climate Strike, which saw students from around the world leaving school in order to protest and pressure governments to take action.

Since then, Thunberg has been has been deemed a prophet for some and a ‘brat’ by others.

I have had so many issues surrounding how Thunberg has been treated. Here are a few issues.

Analysis on Thunberg’s mental health

Greta Thunberg’s mental health has been a discussion in the media by both her admirers and critics.

Thunberg has been open about her struggles with depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and mutism. Her mother, former opera singer, Malena Ernman wrote autobiography, Scenes from the Heart where she wrote about Greta’s mental health struggles, including an eating disorder. This was allegedly caused by worry about the state of climate change.

Now, if Greta herself wants to be open about this then, fine. But this has repeatedly been used against Greta ever since.

Being used as a martyr

I get why people are concerned about Thunberg being used as a ‘prophetess’ to the world. She has really been thrown out to the sharks, so to speak.

Some people think this has been quite a deliberate and cynical move by the United Nations and climate change activists. Who would pick on a sixteen- year- old and challenge what she’s saying?

The fact that Thunberg is a child and her mental health hasn’t stop her critics. Or bullies.

Abuse

This is where things get sickening. On the one hand, Thunberg has been infantalised by her critics. On the other hand, she has been repeatedly abused by others.

Much of this has not been called out or condemned. That is despicable, especially from those who repeatedly call for her protection.

Sixteen can be a vulnerable age for anybody. You are still working out who you are, who your friends are, etc.

I am outraged at the abuse Thunberg has received by those in the media. If people are that concerned about Thunberg’s well – being, more of them would be willing t9 condemn her high profile bullies. Where s Andrew Bolt’s outrage over Fox News’ Michael Knowles’ comments. Where is the outrage for former football player, Sam Newman who called her a “brat” and “sh*t” on Twitter? Or outrage at people saying she needs to be slapped? That would be terrifying to someone with a history of severe anxiety and depression, don’t you think?

 

Everyone needs to get off Greta Thunberg’s back. She is a passionate teenager. And she is entitled to those passions. However, she shouldn’t be a martyr by climate change activists, nor be infantalised by critics.  Just leave her alone!

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

Anti -hate speech laws may broaden in Victoria

Woman with white tape over mouth
Image: iStock

Anti – hate speech legislation has been debated in Victoria. However, any further movement is postponed until next year due to religious freedom legislation the Coalition government wants to pass.

Should hate speech laws be extended?

I’m really uncomfortable with laws that are deemed censorship. This is the problem with legislation like Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975.

Do I want racism, bigotry against religions, homophobia and transphobia to increase? Of course not! It infuriates me when people, especially those with a massive media presence, make derogatory (and almost always false) comments against racial minorities and the LGBTQ+ community. But censorship has been proven to be a heartache, for both accusers and the accused.

Case: Eatock vs Bolt

In 2011, Newscorp columnist, Andrew Bolt was taken to the Federal Court of Australia and sued for two articles Bolt wrote in Melbourne’s Herald Sun and At the time, Judge Mordecai Bromberg concluded thar Bolt was in breach of 18C. The articles were forbidden to be republished. The Herald Sun was forced to apologise for publishing the articles and take them down.

 

I never read the articles. I’ve only the headings and snippets quoted in other articles. I have also heard and read Bolt’s defences in the aftermath.

The reason why I think the Eatock vs Bolt case has put 18C in a bad light is because of the affect it has had, even years later. Andrew Bolt has had a target on his back since 2011.

Bolt has been treated like a pariah in much of the media. He has written about serious abuse against him that’s been published on social media (which I vehemently condemned at the time), he has received threats that were deemed so serious, he and his family had to be escorted from their home for their safety.

Then, in 2017, Bolt was physically attacked by alleged Antifa members in Carlton, Melbourne. Unknown liquid was thrown on his head. Luckily for Bolt, he fought back. While many described the substance as merely glitter, Bolt insisted that the substance hurt his eyes.

Case: Cindy Price vs Queensland University of Technology

In my opinion, this is a tragic case.

In 2013, former Queensland of Technology students Alex Wood, Calum Thwaites and Jackson Powell, along with other students were sued by QUT administrator, Cindy Prior for racial abuse, citing 18C. Two students paid settlements to avoid court.

The event happened in 2013. The students were asked to leave the a computer lab that Prior said was reserved for Aboriginal students.

Thwaites, Wood and Powell made Facebook posts protesting “segregation”, and sarcastically asked where “the white supremacist computer lab” was.

Thwaites was also accused of using the word “ni**ers on the post. He always denied this and it was never proven.

The case was thrown out of the Federal Court in 2016. There were no real winners. Cindy Prior lost the case. She was ordered to pay all the court costs. She later filed for bankruptcy.

Although the judge ruled in their favour, Calum Thwaites, Alex Wood and Jackson Powell didn’t escape unscathed.

Arguments against broadening ‘hate – speech laws’

In the lead up to this year’s federal election, Labor proposed extending the RDA a similar way that Victoria Labor has.

On the surface, this may seem like a good idea. However, I think the Bolt and Prior cases show how badly things can go.

The laws end up causing division. They also cause people to have less empathy for racial, religious minorities and the LGBTQ+ community, not more. Talking about LGBTQ+ people, we had the marriage debate for a number of years. We had the Israel Folau religious freedom fiasco. I don’t think we need another culture war. We don’t need another ‘I told you so. I told you we shouldn’t have had same – sex marriage’.

A better way

Late last year, I wrote that the U.S’s First Amendment was admirable. The reason why I thought it worked, was because the U.S. had an independent media that is big enough to have an impact.

I love how Kyle Kulinski (Secular Talk), David Pakman (The David Pakman Show) and Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian (both The Young Turks) stand up and are often willing to stand against the status quo. They stand up for justice and accountability. Having a variety of voices and people willing to stand up for justice and accountability in the media is better than censorship.

Do you think anti – hate speech laws be broadened to protect religious minorities and the LGBTQ+ community? Should those sort of laws (i.e. like 18C of RDA) exist at all? Let me know what you think in the comments.

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Media

Does the ABC’s new site make it harder for independent bloggers?

ABC studio entrance
Image: iStock

The ABC has another site, ABC Life.

The site covers a number of topics: food, family, work and well – being to name a few.

Reading some of the articles, I think they are generally well – written, even if some are politically correct.

Where does this leave independent media?

ABC is obviously trying to get into the lifestyle/ culture media space; genres that, a number of other outlets in Australia has failed to launch; such as  women’s website, The Hoopla or recently folded, such as Cleo and Cosmopolitan Australia.

If the ABC is filling the void that collapsed media companies left, then where does that leave future independent media outlets in Australia? Considering the ABC is arguably Australia’s largest media company, where dooes that lead other media?

Mainstream media dominating social media

ABC Life also has already got a social media presence, including a YouTube channel. This is their right, I guess. But I do feel uneasy about it. Even though their current subscriber count is modest, I fear they could potentially overshadow independent creators.

Earlier this year, YouTube political commentators Kyle Kulinski (The Kyle Kulinski Show/ Secular Talk) and David Pakman (The David Pakman Show) accused YouTube for prioritising mainstream media outlets over independent ones. The Google algorithms made media companies like CNN and MSNBC favoured as recommendations for viewers. This has negatively affected view counts of videos from independent commentators like Kulinski and Pakman. Will the ABC further have a similar negative effect? I hope not.

I’m not saying the ABC or any other mainstream media outlet can’t have a YouTube channel, but not at the expense of killing independent content creators.

The blog/ website landscape

Naturally, this is where my concern is. How can independent bloggers compete with the ABC? We can’t. One bonus, I guess, is that the ABC doesn’t rely on advertisers like commercial or independent media.

Will it affect other bloggers’ ability to gain traffic and trust from readers? Maybe. Despite the criticisms that ABC frequently received, I think it’s still a fairly trusted company across the country. I know that people in rural towns often get news from their radio stations.

On a positive note, I’ll have more to write about and critique on here. Hopefully I will. Watch this space!

Independent writers/ content creators need to maintain high standards

I think the ABC Life potentially overcrowds an already overcrowded market. Independent bloggers and YouTubers will have to work hard in not just creating content, but also in advertising it.

I guess if we can’t beat the ABC and mainstream commercial media, we have to join them. We, as independent writers/ content creators need to maintain high standards in our work. And just cross our fingers that we’ll get readers/ viewers who are willing to support our work.

 

What do you think about mainstream media outlets extending to online? Do you think it makes it harder for independent content creators? 

Also, have you looked at ABC Life? What are your thoughts on their posts? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Uncategorized

I’ve started writing on Medium

I’ve just published my first article on Medium. It’s just a bit of an introduction into my history of writing.

My plan for Medium (at least for now), is to write about my journey here: my successes, my frustrations and any advice I can give.

Here is my profile link if you’re interested.

Anyone else on the platform? Any advice would be much appreciated.