|Mariama Kano: ' As an experienced journalist, I do not need protection.'|
In the aftermath of the cancelled meeting by two alt rigt speakers Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux, two TVNZ journalists get accused of 'race betrayal'.
THE AUTHORITARINISM OF THE liberal left didn't just extend to mounting a campaign to prevent 'alt right' activists Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux from holding a public meeting. It went as far as demanding that TVNZ not screen an item on the two speakers on its Sunday current affairs show last night. Despite nobody actually having seen the content of the item the mere mention of Southern and Molyneux was apparently valid grounds for the item's removal
Sunday presenter Mariama Kano and journalist Tania Page, both Maori, were also of accused of 'race betrayal." Kamo wrote a reply on her Facebook page and it is published in full below:
"There’ve been calls for Sunday to be boycotted this week, because we are airing a story sparked by the alt-right duo Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux. Even before the story airs, we’ve had extensive and quite astonishing commentary about the content of our story, when only a fraction of it has been seen in public.
Put that aside for now. Let’s look on why we’re doing a story. As journalists, it’s our role to examine our society, to canvas a diversity of views, and to reflect who we are and who we want to be. By demanding that we close down debate and discussion on what has been a huge story, we must then ask ‘what else should we ignore, what other views should we suppress, which other stories should we turn away from?’ You may not like what this controversial pair has to say, but it forces us to confront the very core of what free speech and hate speech is all about.
At the heart of much of this furious reaction, is decency. Many people are insulted, offended and disgusted by the views of the Canadian duo. I appreciate that. However, there have also been suggestions that I, as a Maori woman, should not front this episode. I reject that. Our story this week is told by reporter Tania Page, another Maori woman. The notion that we should distance ourselves from this story is patronising. It has dominated the news agenda for over a fortnight. As an experienced journalist and as a Maori woman, I do not need protection. And, if it is seen as some sort of race betrayal, I return to the notion that no-one has seen our story yet - watch it first, and then decide.
But, more importantly, I believe in the right to have a view and to back it vigorously. I believe in protest, so I also believe that when we are confronted by views we cannot accept, it creates a platform upon which we can crystallise and refine our personal position on issues; that we can decide where we fall on the question of free speech, where it starts and ends, and at what point we decide that it’s gone too far. Our opinions and our right to express them is at the heart of the democracy that we all enjoy. And, on Sunday tonight, we canvas a diversity of views."
On a much less public scale, this writer has been attacked by well known blogger Giovanni Tiso for apparently lending support and comfort to Southern and Molyneux. My crime? Quoting Rosa Luxemburg's definition of free speech - "Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently"
But, according to Tiso, 'enlisting Rosa Luxemburg in support of platforming fascists is next level'.
The late Christopher Hitchens was also a resolute defender of the right to free speech. In a Vanity Fair article published in 2011, he also referenced Rosa Luxemburg:
"My own opinion is a very simple one. The right of others to free expression is part of my own. If someone’s voice is silenced, then I am deprived of the right to hear. Moreover, I have never met nor heard of anybody I would trust with the job of deciding in advance what it might be permissible for me or anyone else to say or read. That freedom of expression consists of being able to tell people what they may not wish to hear, and that it must extend, above all, to those who think differently is, to me, self-evident.'