Is calling a politician the name of a fairy tale character worthy of Police action?
Over the weekend, the head of a Rotorua ratepayers’ association was accused of “age, gender, and race-based hate speech” after he published a Facebook post stating: “Beware the charismatic pitch of the Pied Piper” referring to local councillor Tania Tapsell. According to reporting by Stuff:
“He has referenced me as a Pied Piper who lures away vermin and children and this level of hate speech is totally unacceptable,” Tapsell told Stuff.
She said the decision to refer the post to police was made by a confidential council committee, and while not at her request, she believes that “given the risk of harm to myself and others that was the right decision” […]
“His rants have gone too far so I’m standing up for all the people who have been offended by his hate speech.”
Referring political opponents to the language Police
As soon as we saw what was going on we publicly condemned the Council for calling the Police to try to intimidate a political opponent. It diverts Police from real crime. Politicians who won’t meet argument with argument, and instead ask the state to punish critics are not fit to hold power.
An example of how ‘hate speech’ laws would really be used
We have called on the Police to clearly state that they cannot censure offensive opinions because our laws explicitly allow for robust discussion. We have also called on the Human Rights Commission to stand up for the right of free expression. (Refer below to the interview with Stephen Franks on this issue).
Free Speech Radio?
A couple of supporters have suggested we start a ‘free speech podcast” so we can fight for free speech on the airwaves and dive deeper into free speech issues in interviews and commentary.
We are keen to do it and are fundraising for the $2,168 to buy the professional podcast recording equipment.
If you would like to see a free speech podcast, click here to donate to our fundraiser for the equipment.
If you have any suggestions for guest interviews, drop us a line.
Thank you for your support.
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