Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A beat up

Stuff reports that the government may make online racism and Holocaust denial as part of its crackdown on money-laundering. This would of course be a gross infringement on our freedom of expression, which protects even vile and intellectually dishonest views. But before anyone gets too upset, it might pay to read the fine print:

Justice Minister Simon Power and Police Minister Judith Collins yesterday announced a three-year plan to crack down on international organised crime. One proposal involves the Government signing the Council of Europe Cyber Crime Convention, also known as the Budapest Convention.

A protocol of the convention requires nations to make "the dissemination of racist and xenophobic material through computer systems" a crime. It also makes denial or justification of the Holocaust and other verified genocides illegal.

(Links added)

While the government wants to sign the Convention (which seems to be a good idea), there's no suggestion either in the story or its source material that they want to sign the Protocol. Which makes the entire story a beat-up. A more accurate headline would be "No plans to ban online racism". But I guess that just wouldn't sell newspapers.