Friday, April 13, 2007

The Herald on sedition

More reaction to the Law Commission's recommendation for the repeal of sedition, this time from the New Zealand Herald. In an editorial this morning, the Herald agrees with the Law Commission that the law has been misused to stifle freedom of speech, and argues for repeal:

We have a largely open society, but it is one in which threats to freedom of expression and the freedom of the press regularly arise. The Law Commission's clear and forceful report is a welcome support for free speech. It usefully quotes English writer and thinker John Milton from a speech in 1644: "Give me the liberty to know, to utter and to argue freely according to conscience above all liberties ... Let [truth] and falsehood grapple; whoever knew truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter." A progressive government would take confidence in that view, endorse the Law Commission's recommendations and implement them as soon as possible.

Obviously, I agree - but the question I find myself asking is "how progressive is this government really"? Ignoring the issues around their coalition partners (NZ First being the big unknown here - Peter Dunne has already called for repeal), there's the simple fact that repeal would be seen as admitting that a mistake had been made in Selwyn's case. And given how long the Zaoui case has dragged on for, I'm not sure that is something they can bring themselves to do...


Did you see Maxim's view on sedition? They want it made "narrow".

Posted by Lewis Holden : 4/13/2007 01:58:00 PM

"But we live in a democracy, not a dictatorship, and so these things take time."

I/S from an earlier post.

Posted by Gooner : 4/14/2007 11:32:00 AM

Gooner: Indeed they do - and I said as much over the court challenges. But its been more than a year since Zaoui was supposed to receive his hearing, and far longer since it became apparent to any thinking person that the case against him was factually and morally indefensible. And yet the government has continued with it, rather than exercising their power to withdraw the (falsly-gained) Security Risk Certificate. And the reason they've done that is because doing the right thing would require them to admit that they made a mistake.

In the case of the sedition law, the government has been sent a clear message from several parties that if they don't act, there will be a member's bill. Hopefully the threat of that embarassment will be enough to force their hand.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/14/2007 01:54:00 PM


This, I love. You're opposed to the very idea of sedition laws (& rightly so) ... but you support further abrogation of the right to freedom of speech during election campaigns! WTF?

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 4/15/2007 02:39:00 AM