Friday, July 06, 2007

Shifting the ground on satire

Last month, in one of the more blatant displays of self-interest from our elected representatives, Parliament changed the rules governing the filming of Parliament, barring the use of footage for the purposes of "satire, ridicule or denigration". Worse, they made violating these rules a contempt of Parliament - meaning that journalists who show the honest truth of what MPs get up to in the chamber face "trial" before a Star Chamber of MPs, fines, or even imprisonment.

The media have not been pleased about this resurrection of lese majeste, and have vowed to ignore the ban. And now they have the backing of both the National Party and the Greens. That's not enough to swing a vote on the Standing Orders Committee - they'd need the backing of NZ First or the Maori party for that - but its a strong reflection of public discontent. And hopefully Labour and the other parties will get the message.