• World Press Day marks the crucial role of free speech in democracy. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Helen Razer celebrates World Press Freedom Day by (satirically) not saying things she knows she freely shouldn't.
By
Helen Razer

3 May 2017 - 3:56 PM  UPDATED 3 May 2017 - 4:27 PM

Hey. You’ll never guess what. Today marks an official day of awareness! This likely comes as a surprise to you, given that awareness days occur, at most, only on the remaining 364 dates of our calendar. So, let us celebrate this rare moment of awareness together, and be aware that it is World Press Freedom Day.

Press freedom is, of course, a crucial element of democracy and it is the thing that would allow me to say, for example, “I believe that the nation’s hard-right commentators and politicians spent an entire week enthusiastically demonising a young woman in her twenties, for simply and respectfully remembering those detained and dead to war, chiefly because they are psychologically troubled by the thought of their own naked bodies”. But, you know, only if I felt like it. I didn’t say that, but, thanks to press freedom, I could.

Comment: Political correctness hasn’t gone mad, the world has
It’s a phrase that's thrown around by politicians and activists, but Helen Razer believes that political correctness is more an amplifier than a red tape.

Of course, there are only a few outlets where I could offer the view that our conservative thought leaders have recently had their brains emptied of thought and had this replaced with the tendency to bully, crush, then cry like toddlers who’ve been denied a third slice of birthday cake every time someone says something with which they mildly disagree. And, of course, I’m not saying this, nor am I saying, not even for a minute, that it’s all very convenient to pretend that you’re offended about a Facebook post in the week before a federal budget is handed down. No. I’m not saying this temper tantrum is a distraction designed to keep us Australians worrying about “political correctness gone mad” rather than the more pressing problem of our declining wages and increased housing costs. No. I didn’t say these things.

The point about press freedom is that if I wanted to say these things, I could! Not that I would say, for example, that I believe our pundits and politicians should remove their foul snouts from the trough of public hatred and think about how to fix the economic mess that their stubborn stupidity has made, which may be a more pressing matter than a seven-word post on social media. And I wouldn’t say that I don’t pay damn tax, at a higher rate than large and profitable companies, to fund the swinish habit of politicians to snort about nothing in public. But, YAY World Press Freedom Day, if I wanted to, I probably could! Maybe.

So, raise a glass of bubbly liberty to all the press freedoms we enjoy in this great nation where you and I confront no barriers at all to saying exactly what we believe to be true!

It is my ardent hope that our Prime Minister will today offer his public support for this important day. He has a long history of protecting many forms of freedom of speech, from his spirited defence of the publication of the work Spycatcher to his bold statement about the art of Bill Henson, made at a time of moral panic. I am confident that Mr Turnbull would, in principle, uphold my right to publish the opinion that some of the more powerful speakers in our nation have cynically promoted a racist obsession in order to hold onto their power.  If I were to publish that opinion, which I did not. But I could!

Press freedom is marvellous. It means that a range of opinions, analyses and news items can be freely put forward without fear. It is a guarantee that you can offer a perspective and not be unduly afraid, say, that large numbers of powerful people will publicly call for you to be sacked. It is a belief that an Australian publisher who offers their findings about the powerful free of charge, say, for example, someone like Julian Assange, will be protected by his government. As we can agree, both these things have happened. No one is treading on Ms Abdel-Magied’s right to offer a different perspective to a small audience on Facebook, and the Australian government is doing everything it can to protect WikiLeaks as a conveyer of sensitive, often mind-boggling, information!

Press freedom is, of course, a crucial element of democracy.

So, raise a glass of bubbly liberty to all the press freedoms we enjoy in this great nation where you and I confront no barriers at all to saying exactly what we believe to be true!

It’s a wonderful day of awareness, and I am certain it will work just as well as Mental Health Awareness Week to ensure that our leaders guarantee the real assistance to people in need that they say that they honour!

Please note: This article contains satire. Satirical content is clearly meant to be funny and not be taken too seriously. (Now, as you were please...)

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