Friday, April 28, 2017

National undermines freedom of the press

The Reports Without Borders 2017 World Press Freedom Index was released this week, and the good news is that we're rated as one of the few countries in the world (along with the core EU and Nordic countries) which still rates as "good". The bad news is that we've dropped 8 places since last year, and RSF is pretty clear about the reasons:

The media continue to demand changes to the Official Information Act, which obstructs the work of journalists by allowing government agencies a long period of time to respond to information requests and even makes journalists pay several hundred dollars for the information. In August 2016, the government revealed a grim future for whistleblowers, announcing a bill that would criminalize leaking government information to the media and would dramatically increase the surveillance powers of the intelligence services. Journalists, bloggers, and civil society representatives would be among the potential targets of the proposed law, which could be adopted in 2017.

National's culture of secrecy and grovelling to the spies is undermining freedom of the press, one of our core values and a vital safeguard for our democracy. Its time we threw the fuckers out and got a government which will respect our democratic freedoms.