Sunday, January 02, 2005

Gunns attack on Greens threatens freedom of speech: "This case is putting free speech on trial. If Gunns are successful in getting injunctions against protesters then they will have effectively made political protest against corporations illegal.

"This suit is clearly intended to bully into silence politicians, protesters, and anyone attempting to exercise their democratic right to speak out. The Greens will not be silenced by Gunns or any other company from identifying environmentally damaging practices and speaking out to protect our ecological heritage.

""I, for one, will never be cowed by John Gay, Robin Gray, their wealth or their power of destruction. They will not stop me from campaigning to save Australia’s heritage even if it means losing every penny, every home comfort, every peaceful night’s sleep life offers" said Senator Bob Brown."

That is courageous talk from Bob Brown and, indeed, he is one of the few public figures from which such talk might be credible. Nevertheless it is outrageous and intolerable that a person or politician engaged in legitimate political activity should face such a threat. If successful, the Gunns suit would set an appalling precedent whereby corporations could use legal action to silence protestors, dissidents, political opponents and activists. The mere filing of the suit, regardless of its ultimate outcome, is an harassing activity of a kind that should be considered unacceptable.

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