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Liberating the media from law's bondage

By Vishal Mangalwadi - posted Thursday, 6 October 2011

Yes – Aussie Journalist Andrew Bolt, may have genuinely offended Pat Eatock and Larissa Behrendt by writing that they were among the people who were misusing affirmative action programs (see story.)

Yes – Melbourne's Federal Court Judge, Honourable Mordecai Bromberg, may have done his duty to protect individuals from the abuse of media power when he ruled that Bolt was guilty of breaching section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.

Yet, there can be no doubt that his ruling will intimidate the media from investigating matters of public importance.


What is more important - freedom of speech or minorities' sensitivities? Can there be freedom to investigate without the liberty to err? Won't personal rights destroy community, without grace to bear with one another?

Such are the questions posed by this case brought by nine Australians of Aboriginal descent.


I remember when the BBC's Christopher Hitchens published his derogatory attack on Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

An ex-radical feminist from California, Professor Mary Poplin, was there with Mother Teresa on a personal spiritual quest and expressed concern to the Mother about his argument that her mission to the poor should not be given any more money.

Mother Teresa replied, "Oh, the book. Yes, well I haven't read it at all, but I know it. Some sisters have read it. Ask them. It matters not, he is forgiven." (Finding Calcutta, IVP Books, 2008, see pp.114-117)


Poplin informed Mother Teresa that her forgiveness had enraged Hitchens: he condemned her forgiveness by publishing that he neither asked for nor needed it.

The professor's inability to understand forgiveness puzzled 'the Mother.' She explained: "Oh, it is not I that forgives, it is God. God forgives. God has forgiven."

The Mother's incomprehensible response did not bring peace to Poplin's heart, disturbed by the arrogance that media power can infuse in a critic. University education had equipped neither Poplin nor Hitchens to understand the spiritual universe in which the Mother lived.

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Dr Mangalwadi is visiting Australia between the 8 – 16 October 2011 to do a series of lectures on his new book The Book that Made your World published by Thomas Nelson.

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About the Author

Dr Vishal Mangalwadi is an international lecturer, social reformer, political columnist, and author of 14 books.

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