Monday, July 30, 2007

Kiwi Satire Ban

Read here an article detailing a move by the New Zealand parliament to ban ridicule and satire of politicians by controlling the use of footage and shots recorded by media outlets in the parliament chamber. This is the type of political manouevering that undermines any claim a government can make on openess and transparency and is surely a violation of the freedom of the press. This issue stems from a member of the parliament giving the finger to a member of the opposition last year, while I was in New Zealand. It was a major news story, with the member being reprimanded. So too however the news station that covered the story were sanctioned for directing the camera away from the person who was speaking at the time to catch the gesture, violating chamber rules. If we cannot expect elected representatives to be held to account and fully visible while they debate on our behalves in government buildings then we may as well throw in the towel on encouraging mutual respect between politicians and the electorate.

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