Daily Archives: 10 December 2012

The Responsibility of Speech

abc aussie dj story

The Australian radio DJs have been weeping on TV all day long. Some of the video is included along with this article:

Royal Hoax Tragedy: Australian Radio Station Has a History of Pranks Gone Wrong
By JENNIFER ABBEY and CECILIA VEGADec. 10, 2012

The Australian radio station 2Day FM that pulled the prank call on Kate Middleton’s hospital last week has come under fire before for its antics gone wrong. The Australian Communications and Media Authority launched an investigation into 2Day FM in July 2009 after the station broadcast a lie-detector test with a mother and a daughter regarding the girl’s sexual activity, despite the girl’s protests. In the segment, which was part of the “Kyle and Jackie O Show,” the 14-year-old girl revealed to her mother that she had been raped when she was 12, according to the Sydney Morning Herald….

There is something here that is not much talked about, but which I see all the time: the difference between ‘free speech’ and ‘responsible speech’ — and yes, Virginia, I realize that First Amendment free speech only applies to the USA, which is more than I can say about MSNBC’s “The Cycle” seems to know about it, given their discussion today.

But this is not new territory for this blog. I’m going to make a simple observation (this being my 58th personal anniversary tomorrow, and my 39th anniversary as a writer/author/journalist): Writers and media types never seem to grasp what amplified power their words take on when multiplied through media.  Continue reading

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