Ban on Political Satire
Posted by David Keelan on Friday, July 20, 2007
A rather timely topic…
(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – The vast majority of people in New Zealand are against a recent rule approved by lawmakers that bans using images captured inside Parliament to satirize, ridicule or denigrate lawmakers on broadcast and print media, according to a poll by TNS released by TV3. 71 per cent of respondents disapprove of this measure.
Labour party leader Helen Clark has acted as New Zealand’s prime minister since December 1999. In the September 2005 ballot, Labour elected 50 lawmakers to the 121-seat House of Representatives, and assembled a coalition government with the Progressives. United Future and New Zealand First agreed to support the administration in confidence and supply votes for three years.
In June, New Zealand’s House of Representatives voted to institute new media rules, which in effect ban the use of images in a way that satirizes, ridicules or denigrates lawmakers. Breaches of these measures can be treated as contempt of Parliament, a charge that can result in imprisonment.
Various media outlets in the country have criticized the new provisions. On Jul. 17, deputy prime minister Michael Cullen defended the rules, saying, “The issue the MPs are most concerned about is misrepresentation.”
In March 2005, speaker Margaret Wilson banned cameras from TV3 for seven days after the network showed associate education minister David Benson-Pope asleep during a parliamentary session.