Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The drums are beating again to censor free speech

imageTaking every chance they can, and inflamed by revelations a blogger has been writing some angry posts, the opportunistic trial balloons are going up again to set the censors onto the blogosphere.

The world’s most boring man set the case for censorship yesterday, Wayne Mapp arguing on the back of Geoffrey Palmer’s egregious efforts over the weekend that the blogosphere is “as ungoverned as the Wild West.” 1

 But the revelation that the subject on an SFO Inquiry would allegedly pay a group of bloggers to besmirch the investigating office is surely a new low.

“A new low.” To write a blog expressing an opinion you can take or leave. Mr Boring continues:

[Geoffrey Palmer’s] Law Commission’s report into new media did not envisage that this could happen [!], but now has, or at least the released emails point to that.

This self-appointed paragon of morality elects to elude the fact these emails were “released” only in the sense that animal activists “release” captive animals. That is, they break in to someone’s property first. A very convenient elision.

And New Zealand is already full enough of the vaguely incoherent legislation penned or inspired by Jellyfish Geoffrey and his graduates (alcohol wowserism, the RMA, s9 of the State-Owned Enterprises Act, the end to the right to silence, a toothless BoRA, to name just several of his intentionally non-objective laws) without needing any more.

Mapp burbles on towards his conclusion nonetheless, dropping inanities as he goes like a horse dropping road apples:

    One of the strengths of the MSM is that readers can reasonably assume that hard-hitting investigative journalists are not being paid for by one of the protagonists in the issue. While the journalists may have a clearly understood political perspective, this is usually apparent on the face of the news item. This is part of the trust the society has in the idea of a free and independent media.

What a lot of inexcusably execrable humbug from a man utterly ignorant of what an opinion piece on a blog looks like, let alone what constitutes objective journalism. (“Being objective,”explains Paul Blair, “means recognising that not everybody's point of view is equally valid or deserves equal respect.”)

If you can read Mapp’s last paragraph without the help of anti-nausea medication and a large bowl, you’re doing better than I. That blowhard bloviation sets us up for Mr Boring’s payoff, slithered in at the end of a piece supposedly taking about Key’s leadership style:

Can society really afford to have the blogosphere limited only by the criminal law and the law of defamation? The Law Commission’s report into new media is increasingly looking like unfinished business.

To which the only appropriate responses in a free society are: Yes; and: Fuck off.


1. No amount of repetition makes Mr Boring’s inane analogy accurate.  “We … frequently see claims … that the internet is some sort of ‘wild west’ that is a haven for all sorts of illegality, and that needs to come to an end.
The problem is that this is a myth. It makes for a compelling narrative, but it's a myth nonetheless.”
    Not to mention the myth of the “wild west” itself. “One of the great myths of the Wild West is criminal activity.  The reason we know so much about the criminal activity of the Wild West is because there was so little of it.   Life in the Wild West was generally boring.  It was far more ‘civilized’ than life is today.” Life in the Wild West was generally boring? Maybe Mr Mapp would have been more at home there than us bloggers.


  1. We do not have free speech in NZ, just free-ish speech. And with PC the "ish" factor is increasing daily. Mara

  2. What about a situation where someone sets out to do harm?

    They deliberately, without conscience, without hesitation, and 'with malice' decide to stick trophies on the wall; should there be any way to stop them?

    For instance, what about a blogger offering a $50,000 "bounty" to pupils attending the same school as a politicians child to bully them into suicide? (making their intentions very clear)

    To start with they offer, say, $1000 to any classmate who bashes a politicians child (on the grounds the bully is too young to be charged with a crime) - and start revelling in the cash they are handing out.

    They do this sort of sicko stuff just for 'fun', just because they feel that politician is an a***hole and would 'deserve' it for not passing some "one issue nutter" law the blogger wants.

    Should they be able to stand back like the cat who got the cream and say "free speech and up yours"?

  3. @Mr Lineberry: I believe incitement to violence is covered by existing laws and is illegal, as it should be. There's a clear distinction between broadcasting a view and urging people to take (legal) action in support of that view, verses organising or encouraging the initiation of physical force.


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