If only our Government would follow suit

With the Name Suppression issue I have been thinking about New Zealander’s access to freedom of speech. I guess also that this follows on from my contribution to ridding us of the Electoral Finance Act.

It seems in actuality that our politicians and meritocracy of doctors, lawyers and judges are not for increased access to freedom of speech. They wish that our Name Suppression law were tighter, tougher, with greater penalties.

They make a mockery almost daily of our Bill of Rights Act. Even the author of the Act, Sir Geoffrey Palmer doesn’t even believe in Freedom of Speech because he was the author of the Law Commission report that recommended tougher penalties for name suppression breaches.

This is where I came to think about our democracy and started to compare it to other democracies around the world and thought to myself, did we really go to war against totalitarian regimes, regimes that controlled and monitored and regulated their people only to take a step closer to that which we fought against with enactment of a new law.

Surely as a democracy we should be trying to increase freedoms of the population not increasingly confine and restrict them under a morass of legislation.

Enter Iceland. It has just been announced that;

The Icelandic Government has been working alongside anonymous mass document leaking website Wikileaks to create a safe haven for offshore journalists and whistle-blowers.? Dubbed the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, the proposal aims to;

?task the government with finding ways to strengthen freedom of expression around world and in Iceland, as well as providing strong protections for sources and whistleblowers. To this end the legal environment should be explored in such a way that the goals can be defined, and changes to law or new law proposals can be prepared. The legal environments of other countries should be considered, with the purpose of assembling the best laws to make Iceland a leader of freedoms of expression and information. We also feel it is high time to establish the first Icelandic international prize: The Icelandic Freedom of Expression Award.

This is massive news and massive for the likes of Simon “FIGJAM” Power and the judiciary to consider as they pontificate about trying to control the internet. The reality that they and the meddling judiciary seem not to realise is that no matter what they do they can’t control it, and thus they may as well help to move our country closer to more openness rather than try to shut down freedom of speech and increasingly close our courts to all but elite when it comes to open justice.

Instead of carping that a certain blogger might take credit for a law change just get on and do it Simon, help become a truly great Justice Minister and actually increase our freedoms, remove barriers to openness in our judicial system. Only a true believer in democracy and a true liberal could do this, are you the man?