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RNZ – Mediawatch: Does social media reform have the law on its side? + some concerns Adam has arising from the Christchurch Call

30/04/2019

Mediawatch looks at some of the issues around the so called Christchurch Call

Some pundits predict the “Christchurch call to action” and the PM’s upcoming social media summit in Paris won’t move US-based tech companies. They’ve always resisted regulation and can fall back on powerful US free speech laws. But could reformers find US lawyers and lawmakers end up on their side? MORE AT LINK

US Tech firms have long been able to rely on on legal protection

Tech expert and journalist Bill Bennett seemed to agree on Newstalk ZB last Wednesday. 

“The problem with the US is they have two things that stop them from acting. One is the First Amendment which is all about free speech and not censoring people. The second thing is something called Section 230 that gives social media companies an out. They are not responsible for things posted on their site,” he said.

Adam regards the US First Amendment as critical protection. It is a shame that we do not have something similar here. We may regret that as the politicians proceed to attack our freedom of expression.

This video, referenced on the RNZ site, helps to explain Section 230.

This was an interesting item for Mediawatch. It does highlight some of the key issues.

However, Adam remains very concerned that this Ardern initiative will lead to major infringement on free speech, without actually solving the ‘problem’. Neither Ardern nor Macron deal in detail, they are both about their brands and Adam would not rust either of them in this area. It is extremely doubtful that Ardern understands the issue properly – this extract from a recent Matthew Hooton column comes to mind:

They misunderstand that, in a country that is generally content, Ardern’s very flakiness on any substantial policy matter is one of the Coalition’s strengths.

That her every utterance is devoid of content and that her Government has no meaningful policy programme

That is why we should all be very concerned

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