''Hope your students are more open minded. Asshole.'' New York Times editor, Dean Baquet
''Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault.'' Henry Grunwald
PHUKET: At Phuketwan we have had a degree of experience lately with the limits of free speech. This past week, others have died for their own belief in what those words mean.
In the face of being sued for criminal defamation by the Royal Thai Navy, Phuketwan took the same approach as the Australian Prime Minister: "We should not stop being ourselves because of this kind of attack.''
Perhaps, though, the Australian government should show some consistency in its approach to attacks on free speech.
Some attacks, it seems, call for instant responses. Others can be overlooked, especially when staying on the right side of a military government becomes more important.
The second quote, from the editor of the New York Times, more clearly reflects the viewpoint of the editor of Phuketwan.
Editors should not be afraid to challenge the views of others when those views are plainly and abjectly wrong.
As it happens, the person being tagged an ''Asshole'' was Marc Cooper, a journalism professor at University of Southern California.
He said the decision of the New York Times not to republish cartoons from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was ''absolute cowardice.''
What kind of a response did he expect?
Phuketwan accepts that there are limits to free speech and that free speech should not include insulting the beliefs of others for no good reason. Free speech has to be tempered by consideration and tolerance.
The more radical beliefs of the journalism professor, though, clearly deserve a response and, given the culture both participants share, ''Hope your students are more open minded. Asshole.'' was exactly what the editor of Phuketwan would have said in the same situation.
Phuketwan wouldn't have used the same kind of strong language in response to the confusion of principles implied in the Australian Prime Minister's comment, even though we may have thought it.
Actually, we're not even sure we're part of the Australian PM's culture any more.
Australians who choose to live abroad are basically cut adrift from the values of their homeland by a government that picks and chooses its levels of support.
As the PM has made plain, universal principles can be overlooked when it suits.
And that leaves us with just the third quote, the one by Henry Grunwald, which to us this week is by far the most memorable: ''Journalism can never be silent: that is its greatest virtue and its greatest fault.''