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Another attack on free speech and democracy by the Ardern tyranny? – NZ Democracy is Under Attack #34 – Part I


July 27,2022

Are we seeing yet another attack on NZ Democracy by the Ardern tyranny?

In the article was this:

Global social media companies including TikTok, Twitter and Meta have signed a “world first” code of conduct that commits them to reducing the spread of harmful content in New Zealand, but some user-advocacy groups fear the code lacks any real bite.

Facebook and Instagram operator Meta, Google, TikTok, Amazon and Twitter have voluntarily signed the code of practice for online safety and harms, requiring them to reduce harmful content on their platforms, introduce a robust public complaints system and provide yearly reports on safety standards.

The companies have agreed to reduce harmful content in seven key areas: child sexual exploitation and abuse, cyberbullying or harassment, hate speech, incitement of violence, violent or graphic content, misinformation and disinformation.

However, as the old saying puts it ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions‘ and so we see for the article goes on:

The code underwent consultation with the industry and the public, but advocacy groups, including Muslim community leaders, policy advisers Internet NZ, and anti-hate speech and disinformation group Tohatoha, have said companies are using the code as a method to skirt further regulation.

“In our view, this is a weak attempt to pre-empt regulation – in New Zealand and overseas – by promoting an industry-led model that avoids the real change and real accountability,” Tohatoha’s chief executive, Mandy Henk, told the NZ Herald.

I do not recall any comment about consultation in the NZ media? Furthermore I see the usual suspects appear to have been the ones consulted. More about this later.

The article refers as well to the Christchurch Call:

Speaking to Newsroom, Carey compared the code to the Christchurch Call – a set of voluntary commitments established by New Zealand and France to eliminate violent extremist content from the internet, after a far-right gunman massacred 51 people at two mosques in 2019 while broadcasting his rampage live on Facebook.

I see yet again the Christchurch gunman was labelled as far right, but was this in fact the case, some have suggested he was also espousing various causes espoused by amongst others the Greens.

However, let us remember, and again I refer to Lawfare’s Arbiters of Truth Series – The Christchurch Call Two Years On :-

It’s now been two years since the Christchurch Call. To discuss those years and what comes next, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic of the Arbiters of Truth series of the Lawfare Podcast spoke with Dia Kayyali, who serves as a co-chair of the Advisory Network to the Christchurch Call, a group of civil society organizations that work to ensure that the signatories to the Call consider a more diverse range of expertise and perspectives when implementing its commitments. Dia is a long-time digital rights activist and the associate director for advocacy at Mnemonic, an organization that works to preserve online documentation of human rights abuses. What has their experience been like as a voice for civil society in these conversations around the Call? What should we make of the recent decision by the Biden administration to sign the United States on to the call? And what are the risks of potentially over-aggressive moderation in an effort to take down “terrorist” content?

At the time, I noted – The Christchurch Call – not good news for free speech? – and re-reading it, my concerns over the compact signed with Big Tech were heightened

The foregoing reminded me of this:

January 10,2022

As Doyle points out there major concerns over allowing Big Tech to be come ‘Arbiters of Truth’.

Furthermore, there is even more danger in allowing government to control what we read, see and think.

I also draw attention to this recent post from Lawfare’s Arbiter of Truth series of podcasts – The Professionalization of Content Moderation – which featured input from Charlotte Willner, executive director of the Trust and Safety Professionals Association

I will write more on this later, including a number of questions which have arisen as I developed this post

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