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The Christchurch Call – not good news for free speech?


Macron meets with Zuckerberg to discuss how to oppress free speech. All for our good you understand.

Note, for Ardern sycophants, the report has the tagline France takes lead.

So much for world leader Ms Ardern.

Meanwhile in NZ there a couple of interesting items.

On The Spinoff was this article about Macron’s approach to free speech. The article was by Branko Marcetic, who is an editorial assistant at Jacobin magazine and a freelance journalist who wiles away the hours writing about New Zealand and US politics.

This  took my eye in particular:

Macron invited some of the country’s leading media outlets to the Élysée Palace earlier this year, where he appeared to suggest the French government needed to take a stronger hand in the news business. Expressing his worries about “the state of information and the truth”, he urged the re-establishment of “levels of confidence” and a “hierarchy of who is speaking,” and suggested the state should establish financing bodies to fund the news and “make sure that it is neutral”. The comments elicited alarm from French journalists, one of whom accused Macron of “imagining what looks like a partial nationalisation of the press”.

This is the man Ardern is teaming up with to figure out a way to regulate online spaces. Concerns over this shouldn’t be limited to the New Zealand right – with Macron at the helm, there are legitimate worries the outcome could threaten free speech, including for that of the liberals and left that are backing such measures right now.

Contrast and compare this with:

The government now spends around $240m a year on broadcasting. The lion’s share of that is dispensed by New Zealand on Air (NZOA) to producers for TV programmes.

When the NZOA funding system was established, public money paid for journalism at state-owned RNZ, some regional and radio and TV channels and Māori TV from 2005 onwards.

But the agency had no brief for contestable funding of news or current affairs.

Government and broadcasters alike agreed dependence on government largesse created potential conflicts of interest and opened the door to political interference. But as commercial companies have backed away from news and journalism in recent years NZOA has begun funding TV shows about politics, current affairs investigations and even local online news online.

NZ is pretty close to the brink.

Then we recently had this from a Labour MP;

The Labour MP Louisa Wall is calling for greater controls on the media. While praising Jacinda Ardern for working globally to try to stop extemists using social media to organise and promote terrorism, Ms Wall wants the media to be “formally recognized as part of a political system”. In a Facebook post the MP for Manurewa has written: “…this would impose a Duty of Care on The Media – requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others.”

Furthermore, it emerged yesterday, but only after an OIA request that Jacinda Ardern has a ‘secret’ group advising her on social media

The Prime Minister’s office has confirmed the membership of its own digital and media expert group includes NZME Premium Content editor Miriyana Alexander, Weekend Herald columnist Lizzie Marvelly, Internet NZ chief executive Jordan Carter, technologist Nat Torkington, internet and digital business law partner Rick Shera, cyber security professional Michael Wallmansberger, chairwoman of the Digital Economy and Digital Inclusion Ministerial Advisory Group, Victoria Maclennan, and Spark’s GM regulatory affairs, John Wesley-Smith.

This seems an overly political group. Intriguingly there seems nobody on the group who is known as a free speech advocate. Indeed some such as Marvelly are seen by many as opposed to any free speech other than their own.

I question just what this so called Christchurch Call will achieve. Indeed, I am filled with foreboding that it will herald a wave of oppression.

Thomas Paine was a fearless campaigner for freedom and wrote ‘The Rights of Man‘ and ‘The Age of Reason‘ .

Paine wrote:

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.”

That should be in the forefront as a key tenet, but it won’t be – unfortunately for us



One Comment
  1. 12/05/2019 14:07

    Reblogged this on laptoplounge's Blog.


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