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Hate Speech: Golriz Ghahraman strikes again – proving she is a threat to free speech

26/05/2019

Now a few days ago ACT MP David Seymour was vilified on social media

Supposedly Seymour was responsible for Ms Ghahraman needing a security guard. Seymour wrote

“Let it be known, the public beating has not gone out of fashion.” So goes the quote from the movie Thank You for Smoking, as politicians attack the wildly unpopular protagonist, a tobacco lobbyist.
 
I’ve found those words to be true over the past week and it has strengthened my belief in the importance of freedom of expression.
 
To recap, I was asked about Green MP Golriz Ghahraman’s stance on free speech. In her own words “it is vital that the public is involved in a conversation about what speech meets the threshold for being regulated, and what mix of enforcement tools should be used.”
 
I believe that such an idea, and by extension politicians who promote it, is a danger to our free society. When asked about Ghahraman’s position, in the middle of a 15-minute radio interview, I responded that I thought she was a ‘menace to freedom.’
 
What has followed has been extraordinary. It has been a lesson in how beat-ups and witch-hunts occur, and why it’s so important that we retain laws that allow us to express ourselves freely. By Tuesday afternoon, I was being asked by media if I was responsible for Ghahraman requiring a security detail. It was clearly a rhetorical question.
 
Politicians, journalists and other establishment figures have lined up to denounce my comment.

As an example of how bad the climate in the media has become – Seymour’s defence of what he said was not accepted for publication by major media. Certainly not by the ‘free press’.

Predictably Tova O’Brien at TV3 was in the forefront of the baying media pack after Seymour.

Golriz Ghahraman’s need for a security escort after David Seymour labelled her a “menace to freedom” shows MPs need to be more responsible with their language, says Newshub’s Political Editor.

On Tuesday, Newshub revealed that Ghahraman would be escorted by a parliamentary security guard after Seymour told Magic Talk’s Sean Plunket that she was a “menace to freedom” during a discussion about free speech.

Ghahraman said she saw a spike in threats after the comments, which came only days after Newshub revealed how white supremacists had discussed lynching Ghahraman in a closed forum.

Seymour told Newshub on Tuesday that he stood by the comments, but Newshub’s Political Editor Tova O’Brien said Seymour and the public, in general, need to be conscious of their language.

Karl du Fresne mounted a strong riposte in this post, plus pointing out that Ghahraman manipulates the media. Along the way he effectively debunked O’Brien’s comments

Although ostensibly still a political novice, she’s as media-savvy as any veteran.

She has also learned that she can exploit the sympathy of journalists who are drawn to her because she’s young and female (like many press gallery reporters) and also Green and an Iranian asylum-seeker. Looking good on camera helps too, although I shouldn’t mention that because it will be condemned as sexist.

We have seen all these attributes on full display during the past 24 hours with the disclosure that Ghahraman now has a personal security guard because of anonymous online threats against her safety.

Media coverage casts her as a victim of vile white male supremacy, a role she appears almost to relish – and why wouldn’t she, given that it neatly aligns with her portrayal of New Zealand as a country seething with poisonous white nationalism?

Later he writes:

Ghahraman laid the blame for the threats against her, subtly but unmistakeably, at the feet of ACT leader David Seymour, who said in a radio interview earlier this week that Ghahraman was “a real menace to freedom in this country”.

Seymour was expressing a legitimate opinion (one that I share) in the context of a debate about freedom of speech, but Ghahraman cleverly twisted his comment to imply that he was somehow inciting violence against her. She sanctimoniously suggested that post-Christchurch, “New Zealand has asked us to be different” – meaning, we can only assume, that people like Seymour should shut up.

Make no mistake, this was a master-class in the dark art of media manipulation. Winston Peters and Shane Jones must have watched with grudging admiration.

Ghahraman even managed to weave the parliamentary bullying report into her comments to reporters, saying attitudes need to change. All this serves her bigger agenda, which is to discourage free and open debate about when legitimate opinion becomes “hate speech”

Finally he concludes with:

The bottom line here is that while every civilised person abhors any personal threat against Ghahraman by pathetic cowards hiding in the shadows of cyberspace, there is something deeply distasteful – you could almost say despicable – in her attempts to weaponise that threat politically.

Then a nasty Tweet emerged from Guy Williams, Ms Ghahraman’s partner which postulated violence against Don Brash – but we saw no accusatory media However, it rather made a mockery of Ms Ghahraman’s performance earlier in the week.

Then today there was this in Ms Ghahraman’s Twitter timeline and she retweeted it.

Screenshot_2019-05-26 Golriz Ghahraman ( golrizghahraman) Twitter

This tweet is abhorrent, but in a free society cherishing free speech it is permitted.

However, a phrase such as human stain eerily echoes the Nazis and their anti-semitism.

Furthermore it would suggest that in Ms Ghahraman’s world it is only those people she disagrees with are guilty of hate speech.

I suggest that Ms Ghahraman is indeed a menace to free speech and she should be called out for it. However, our weak media will not say anything.

Thomas Paine wrote:

He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

 

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