Monday 27th February 2017 - Today Sydney community radio broadcaster 2SER 107.3 launches Just Words — an investigative podcast series that goes beyond the hype and headlines of Australia's racial discrimination laws.
The new podcast is an in-depth exploration of the culture war sparked by section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it unlawful to insult, offend, humiliate or intimidate based on race. Laws like this pose a particular challenge for a liberal democracy: does it protect or threaten our fundamental rights? It leads to the question of what constitutes 'free speech' — and who gets to exercise it?
Just Words gets the true stories of those who have invoked the Racial Discrimination Act and those who have had it used against them. It features original interviews with a range of voices on the subject — some familiar, some rarely heard of before, from a Holocaust survivor to a Dutch comedian.
The series comes at a critical time both locally and internationally. It's a chance to catch up and check in on the issues raised by 18C. Late last year, a Parliamentary Inquiry was called to look into section 18C and the outcome of that inquiry will be released in a report on February 28. Ahead of this, Just Words will launch with three episodes in its first week.
- Episode 1: 'Jones v Toben' is about history, truth and the future. Australia isn't like many other countries around the world where Holocaust denial is a crime. For the Jewish community here, where Holocaust denial once went unchallenged, under 18C they had legal options. But with calls for 18C to be reformed or repealed, this community could be on the brink of losing their most powerful tool in their fight against anti-Semitism.
- Episode 2: Following release of the Freedom of Speech in Australia Parliamentary Inquiry report, there will be an expert panel who will be able to dissect and discuss the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee who have been travelling around Australia. Hosted by Nic Healey, the panel will be attended by Professor Adrienne Stone, Chair at Melbourne Law School, Simon Breheny the Director of Policy at the Institute of Public Affairs and a previous plaintiff who has accessed 18C (TBC).
- Episode 3: 'Eatock v. Bolt' explores the high profile case of conservative columnist Andrew Bolt and nine Aboriginals that Bolt labelled as 'fair skinned' and implied light-skinned people who identified as Aboriginal did so for personal gain. These Indigenous Australians chose to invoke 18C instead of taking action for defamation. The case of Eatock and Bolt is what catapulted 18C into the media spotlight and fanned the flames that have reignited the culture wars over this 20 year old piece of legislation.
About the series, 2SER Managing Director Melanie Withnall said: "This is our first ever original podcast series. 2SER Staff and volunteers have worked collaboratively over the summer on this educative and investigative series, that we hope will contribute to this important national discussion we are having."
Series Executive Producer Emma Lancaster said: "We are excited to bring our listeners a series that goes beyond the common hype and headlines on our race laws. We wanted to unpack these complex legal cases, some of them known and some unknown, so someone can walk away from listening to an episode and have a greater understanding of how 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act works and plays out in the real world."
Just Words is a seven-part series hosted by 2SER 107.3's Breakfast Presenter Nic Healey. New episodes are released each Monday starting from February 27.
Subscribe at iTunes or search "Just Words" on other podcast apps. It is also available at 2ser.com