Friday, June 26, 2015

Much worse than I thought

As if the criminal provisions of the harmful Digital Communications Bill weren't already bad enough, it turns out they're even worse than I thought. How? Because they effectively ban serious TV journalism.

How? TechLiberty has already explained how they outlaw exposing politicians (or others e.g. serial fraudsters, criminals in hiding etc), and Tim Watkin has already pointed out what this means for journalism. The law only applies to "digital communications", which are defined as "any form of electronic communication", including "any text message, writing, photograph, picture, recording, or other matter that is communicated electronically". But here's the kicker: a consequential amendment to the Human Rights Act make it clear that the law considers radio and television to be "electronic communications", and hence "digital communications". Which means that when Paddy Gower exposes some politician's misdeeds on 3News, with the intent of informing the public so they can end his career, he could go to jail for it.

This law isn't just a threat to the internet - its a threat to our democracy. Our Parliament should not pass it.

[Hat tip: Graeme Edgeler and Thomas Beagle]