Saturday, March 19, 2005

Talk is cheap

More thoughts on the "battle for the cameras": it's unquestionably a Good Thing that ACT, National and NZFirst have changed their minds on this issue and decided that independent cameras should be allowed to film our elected representatives going about the public's business in the public's House - but talk is cheap. The true test of whether these parties actually support real press freedom will be seen by their actions. In particular, each of them should now:

  • explain why they supported the ban in the first place, and why they have changed their minds;
  • instruct their representatives on the Standing Orders Committee to work together to ensure that independent cameras will be permitted to stay;
  • also instruct those representatives to push for a repeal of the present restrictions on the filming and photographing of MPs (or front up and explain why they think those restrictions are justified).

Unfortunately, Parliament itself is exempted from the Official Information Act (how... convenient), so we won't really have any way of knowing whether these parties are walking the talk or not. But I'm sure that their rivals will be quite happy to leak the minutes of any relevant meetings if they are blatantly saying one thing while doing another.

I'll be writing to Don Brash, Rodney Hide and Winston Peters (or rather, Peter Brown, because Winston doesn't do email) asking them to do this. Feel free to do likewise.