Last Updated: 30 September 2002
EFA is a member of the Global Internet Liberty Campaign (GILC), a worldwide alliance of online civil liberties groups, and is a signatory to the GILC resolution on hate speech (November 1997) which states:
"(1) GILC members deplore racist and hateful speech, but when encountering racist or hateful speech, the best remedy to be applied is generally more speech, not enforced silence.
(2) Liberty's fundamental principle is that governments should be prohibited from prohibiting the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.
(3) While the application of existing law to the Internet is still in its infancy, the well-established free speech principles should apply with even greater force to networked speech. The Internet gives it users easy access to public discourse. It affords human rights activists and other opponents of racism with an inexpensive and effective method for responding to racist speech."
Further information on EFA's position is contained in the following documents:
- EFA submission to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) Background Paper for the Cyber-Racism Symposium, October 2002 re Online Hate Speech and Section 18C of the Australian Racial Discrimination Act 1975, 26 July 2002.
- Censoring Hate Speech on the Internet is Counter-productive, EFA Media Release, 10 Nov 1998.
"Electronic Frontiers Australia today issued an open letter to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, arguing against the application of the Racial Discrimination Act to web sites. A case involving the web site of the Adelaide Institute is currently before HREOC."
- EFA open letter to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), arguing against the application of the Racial Discrimination Act to web sites, 10 Nov 1998.
Note: While a number of Web sites imply or state that EFA agrees with and/or supports the actual racist/hateful speech disseminated by some persons and organisations, that is not correct. Any claims that indicate EFA holds or supports racist views, including the views of holocaust deniers/revisionists, are wrong.
EFA shares the view attributed to Terry O'Gorman in an article Court bans racist website by Ian Gerard, Australian IT, 18 Sep 2002:
"Australian Council of Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman criticised the ruling, saying it would interfere with a person's fundamental right of freedom of speech.
'No matter how stupid and misguided Toben's views are, freedom of speech means the right to be stupid,' Mr O'Gorman said."
- The (C'th) Racial Discrimination Act, Section 18C.
- 17 Sep 2002: Jones v Toben, FCA 1150, Federal Court decision.
- 5 Oct 2000: Jeremy Jones and Members of the Committee of Management of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry [etc] v Fredrick Toben on behalf of the Adelaide Institute, HREOC decision.