Stephen Franks on the assault against Free Speech ? Blog Archive ? Free speech during elections

Stephen Franks has written an erudite piece on the travesty that is the Electoral Finance Bill. This Bill must be opposed at all levels and he draws attention that the worst offenders after the government in psuhing this bill are the MSM by not reporting the travesty it is.
[quote]The politicians responsible for this are suppressing challenges by pesky independent groups. Groups like Sensible Sentencing, Greenpeace, Federated Farmers, Forest and Bird, Manufacturers Federation, the teacher unions, doctor organisations, the RSA must be stopped from developing policy and urging parties to endorse it, then urging voters to support or oppose parties accordingly. Under the corrupt gang now drafting our law all those groups will be gagged at election time.

?But they are still free to speak? say the censors. ? It is only unauthorised leafletting and paid advertising they can?t do. They can be reported by the media?. And so we get to the nub of it. The media, so quick to trumpet their committment to freedom to report as they like from the House, have been suspiciously quiet on election spending.

Because when the people are not allowed to communicate in their own words, directly to their fellow citizens, they can only communicate through the media filter. And so the journalists decide what the election is fought on. They control how things are reported. The news editors of TV 1 and TV3 decide whether the election issues will be smacking, or GM corn, or Iraq or politicisation of the public service.

The current left wing thinks it will not matter that its allies are nominally muzzled. They are confident that the conscious or subconscious bias of their politically correct media ?co-religionists? will control the agenda anyway.[/quote]

This bill must be fought. It gives the government of the day the licence to make laws without dissent in Election year. If the Section 59 bill had been presented and debated in election year then all the efforts of the lobby groups against it would have been banned or curtailed and the subsequent damage as the government rode roughshod over the wishes of the populace would have been minimised when the only voice able to speak was the governments.

Where are the libertarians, where is ACT and where is the media on this issue?

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