Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing - well most of the time. In Australia (as elsewhere I have no doubts) there is the phenomena of "shock jocks" (very much in Sydney), people of strong (often to the right of the political spectrum) opinions who are very willing to share them.
Recently, Alan Jones, one notable radio personality was found in breach of a code of conduct, to have incited racial hatred before the Cronulla riots - riots between people of middle eastern origin and WASPS (in particular, Cronulla surfers). It exposed a very ugly underbelly of Australian society and raised many issues on integration, alienation and racism. There was mediation between some of the groups, and things appear quieter.
Was it disquieting is not Jones' protestations of innocence, but politicians of the right coming out in support. According to Prime Minister John Howard, Jones expresses the views of most Australians. Excuse me? I don't think so - but then anyone who doesn't agree is part of the chardonnay sipping, latte drinking chattering classes, the left intelligensia (yes, the same sort of anti-intellectual, ideology is dead thinking that occurs in the US). This is a gross overstatement.
Then, Communications minister Helen Coonan wants to revist the code! Sorry - we can offend people of middle eastern origin but God forbid we should offend Alan Jones or those of a xenophobic nature who call in on occasion.
Free speech, well only for some.
And onto the thought of a code of conduct on blogs - well being nice to each other is a good idea. If only people could do that without something being imposed on them (well people WILL resist). Isn't the facility to complain about blog content already there?