Four days after the introduction of its new law clamping down on internet speech, the government’s new Harmful Digital Communications Act is being let loose to chill political speech
Irony on irony here. Because the speech attacked is that of chief youth supporter of NZ First Curwen Ares Rolinson, an advocate of a bigger more aggressive state, who is being accused of “harmful” speech by his party’s recently-ousted deputy leader.
The bloggers, says the poor dear, are harming the MPs. And before you say “diddums,” realise that this is precisely the speech the Act is intended to and is going to catch. “I’ve been working on the Harmful Digital Communications bill,” says the self-important bitch, “and what Curwen [Rolinson] did, what Whaleoil [blogger Cameron Slater] does, that’s harmful digital communications.”
Says David Seymour, the only MP to actively oppose the Act’s introduction:
Defending free speech usually involves sticking up for people you wouldn’t really want to have over for dinner. Curwen Rolinson is one of these people, but it’s disgraceful that his own party is using the Harmful Digital Communications Act to supress political speech from only four days after it was passed into law. I said the law would chill free speech but I never imagined it would happen this quickly.
If the Critic article is not accurate Tracey Martin should say so.
UPDATE: “I am not a lawyer,” says Eric Crampton, “but if the allegations are not truthful, and they were published, then it would seem that defamation would have applied.”
“One wonders whether the point of the Bill, in the view of some MPs, was to silence critics.”