Is freedom of speech on the way out?

Morning Talk 05/06/2018
Photo credit: File.

A history professor is outraged by a plan set by the Human Rights Commission to ban free-speech.

AUT professor Dr Paul Moon told Mark Sainsbury on Morning Talk that the commission wants to introduce legislation that will penalise people who say something “disharmonious” about certain religions.

“I think that’s absolutely wrong,” he said.

We should be able to say what we want about ideas and beliefs.

The commission says this proposed free-speech ban would only apply to comments "targeted at the religion and beliefs of ethnic minority communities" in New Zealand.

Dr Moon said there are several troubling aspects of this plan.

He says the commission is moving from protecting people from unpleasant speech to protecting ideas from criticism.

Currently, the Human Rights Act section 61 protects against hate speech directed at people on the basis of "colour, race or ethnic or national origins".

The Human Rights Commission last year said it didn't want a widening of the Act to cover more views as hate speech, fearing free speech was under threat - particularly at universities.

Listen to the full interview with Dr Paul Moon above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.