No free thought, please, we’re SBS

A second SBS journalist has been sacked for tweeting something that management didn’t like. Marion Ives has worked for SBS in various roles for the last seven years. On 7 May – the day after she shared an article critical of SBS’s “whitewashing” of the network in pursuit of advertising dollars – she was told she would not receive future shifts.

This latest dismissal comes on the back of Scott McIntyre, an SBS sports journalist, being fired for using Twitter to make some factual points about the causes of World War I, the atomic bombing of Japan and modern ANZAC festivities.

Clearly, the freedom of expression so cherished by those worshippers of the cult of ANZAC is more decorative than functional.

There is no doubt that SBS is feeling the heat from the right wing establishment.

Communications minister Malcolm Turnbull chimed in on Twitter in response to McIntyre’s tweets. He wrote that it was “difficult to think of more offensive or inappropriate comments” and that they were “despicable remarks which deserve to be condemned”.

While invading other countries, because “freedom and democracy”, you’d better not exercise these freedoms on the home front, unless of course you’re about to say something racist.

In 2011, on a day that right wing cultural warrior Andrew Bolt described as “a terrible day for free speech in this country”, a Federal Court judge found Bolt guilty of breaching the Racial Discrimination Act for two articles that were deemed offensive to the Aboriginal community, as well as containing multiple factual errors.

Bolt was not sacked.

In fact, attorney-general George Brandis later defended the “right to be a bigot” in parliament and promised to bring forward “very soon” an amendment to the Racial Discrimination Act, “which will ensure that can never happen in Australia again”.

If you want to keep your job, feel free to express your opinion – so long as it’s reactionary and riddled with factual errors.

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