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Blair Cottrell still banned from X despite Elon Musk’s free speech declaration

In April of 2017 I was targeted by a sudden combination of online censorship and “hate speech” charges issued by the Victorian Department of Public Prosecutions.

I went from being invited onto live TV panels to being completely blacklisted and wiped from the internet.

I don’t like to complain, so I don’t often explain the extent of the censorship or how it affected my personal life, but imagine waking up one day and your social media accounts are deleted, your bank account doesn’t exist and you’ve just been served charges for “hate speech” which include the possibility of jail time.

Blair Cottrell X ban
I went from being invited onto The Adam Giles Show on Sky News to be completely banned from social media

 

That was my reality and I was forced to adjust to it.

Growing up in Australia my father would often remark “it’s a free country, mate”. And that’s what I was raised to believe, that is to say, I believed I was free to formulate and voice my own opinions. I believed that so long as I was fair and articulate, I would always be understood and afforded the right to speak.

But this isn’t how things work in modern Australia.

It’s now my understanding that this is anything but a free country. Down here in “the Great Southern Land” certain opinions, especially those which challenge state policy or popular culture are not just frowned upon but arguably illegal.

I discovered while trying to defend myself at the County Court of Victoria that Australia has no constitutional right to freedom of speech, only an “implied right” to free political discourse exists, but the moment the government decides what you’re saying could be “offensive”, your right to free speech ends.

I was charged under a subsection of the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act of 2001.

The exact wording of the charge was “intent to incite ridicule in a Facebook post”.

This charge had never been used before in Australian history, so it was a precedent case and despite my best efforts I was convicted (found guilty) in 2018.

At the time, seeing as I had been blacklisted from all other socials, Twitter was all I had to communicate the reality of what was happening to me to my supporters and the general public.

Blair Cottrell X ban
This is my last appeal from May 13th. Appeal number 15. I specifically requested to know what tweet was considered “abusive behaviour”, but I just get this auto response every time

 

But it wasn’t long until Twitter succumbed to what I can only assume was attrition from state agencies or professional complainers, or both. Despite dozens of appeals, the then-Twitter staff largely ignored my requests for more information.

“Abusive behaviour” was all they said in what seemed to be automated replies. I was never given any examples or further explanation.

Considering the “cultural climate” on Twitter back then, I wasn’t surprised I was deleted for no reason and that my appeals were being ignored. That’s just the way the old Twitter operated.

But since Elon Musk acquired what is now “X”, I’m surprised to find that despite recent appeals the suspension is still being upheld.

I want to believe Musk’s declaration of “free speech for Aussies“, but until I can join the conversation again I feel it’s all just empty words.

The political landscape is shifting and X seems to be fairer and more central to political commentary than any other social platform.

It’s likely my appeals are just being absorbed by some algorithm and haven’t been seen by a real person, certainly not Elon himself, but I suppose that’s the reason I’m writing this now. Hopefully someone with some objective sense can review the decision made by the old Twitter to suspend my account for no apparent reason.

I realise hope is not a good strategy but living in modern Australia as an open dissident, hope is all I seem to have.

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