Freedom-of-speech

by Roger Childs

The mid-March massacre in Christchurch was tragic, but it should not be used to restrict civil liberties. Following it, the majority of New Zealanders agreed with banning private machine guns and similar weapons, but wading into the murky swamp of  “hate speech” with a view to tightening freedom of speech regulations is very dangerous.

One Treaty One NationThe Mainstream Media has made a fuss about a leaflet drop in Auckland by a group known as “One Law”. Basically the pamphlets were promoting the concept of equality, and challenging the view that part-Maori should get special treatment as regards representation, tax laws and government assistance.

The opponents of the pamphlet are upset about some of the claims made on the sheet and in the book One Treaty, One Nation that it was promoting. The Minister responsible for looking at tightening “hate speech” laws, Andrew Little, made the extraordinary statement: “It peddles myths about pre-European Maori society that historical scholarship does not bear out. If it demonstrates anything, it is that the author of it is an ignorant fool.” He quoted no sources for his conclusions. [The book actually has 8 authors. In the Herald on Sunday yesterday, Andrew Little said that it is “racist” and is the type of thing he will be looking at to suppress under his new “hate speech” laws. —Eds]

One Treaty, One Nation is available from the Paraparaumu Library or can be bought online from Tross Publishing.

There is concern worldwide about challenges to free speech. In the U.S., the Trump Administration from the start made noises about limiting the freedom of media outlets it doesn’t like and is concerned that a pro-Trump paper The National Enquirer may fall into the hands of a Democrat supporter!

The forcible arrest of Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, in London is also a concern. (See the earlier articles on Waikanae Watch). It seems that there may well have been pressure by the U.S. on Ecuador to allow the London bobbies to haul Assange away. As journalist Nozomi Hayase, puts it: Assange’s arrest and possible extradition to the U.S. is much bigger than an individual issue. This goes right to the heart of freedom of expression, basic human rights and due process.

There is a need for vigilance. Sadly, the excellent Tasmanian Times, probably Australia’s best outlet for accurate reporting, is likely to close soon. Fortunately, in the U.S. the daily online Democracy Now! continues to provide un-muzzled news reporting. Track it down if you don’t know it.

Rest assured that Waikanae Watch will continue to fly the flag of free speech!