As a part of my journalism degree, I’ve had to do a law topic. Hated it at first, but it’s grown on me (surprisingly). Even more surprisingly though, is what I’ve learnt from it.
Did you know we actually have no “Right of Free Speech” in Australia?
We’re not America, we have no Bill of Rights. Hence, no free speech. Crazy right? So all those times you’ve screamed ‘IT’S A FREE COUNTRY’ during an argument – forget it. You’re wrong.
Instead we have “Freedom of Political Discussion”. Yeah, cool. An implied freedom of communication on politics and government. Implied. So, it’s like we sort of can talk freely about it, but we sort of can’t. Right?
Not that I understand politics anyway.
You can also sue people who don’t distinguish opinion from fact (in publications) if it’s defamatory (degrading/makes you look bad). Even radio shock jocks can be sued for it unless they say ‘well, in my opinion...’. Cool, huh.
ALSO, probably the most crazy thing I’ve learnt is that we have no legal right to privacy (Bill of Rights thing again). Actually none. People can take photos of us, of our houses and of our cars, we can be watched at all times but legally, nothing is private. Scary.
Anyways, basically all I’ve learnt after 13 weeks of law study is this: journalists are screwed and I will never ever ever EVER be a lawyer.