INDEPENDENT NEWS

New Censorship: It Ain’t Your House You Creeps

Published: Fri 29 Jun 2007 09:32 PM
New Censorship: It Ain’t Your House You Creeps
By Malvina Minor the treble of Ngaio
So, our politicians have now decided to introduce new censorship laws governing how Parliamentarians are depicted and what photo-journalists can photograph.
As I have written before, at their pith all politicians’ instincts are anti-democratic. And following closely on the minor parties’ ridiculous code of conduct, this is more proof.
To want to be a politician requires a special person. One who believes through their great governance they can make a difference. After assuming the mantle of power, enjoying the fawning and obligatory honeymoon period they soon realize that governing in the open is irksome.
Pretty soon, they stop answer parliamentary questions in a helpful way. They start hiding information – withholding it. They play games with the Ombudsman and the Auditor General ignoring requirements set down in the Official Information Act. Sometimes, even, they lie.
And now they want more power to hide the truth from us.
They want the media to only show them delivering speeches as statespeople. They want to imprison those that lampoon them or satirise them using imagery gained in their House.
Well, excuse me, but it ain’t your House you creeps. It’s the people of New Zealand’s and we deserve to know every single thing that happens in the chamber.
TV3 made a meal out of Ron Mark giving the bird across the chamber and that seems to be what they want to stop being reported.
Okay, hypothetical time. What if John Key gave Helen Clark the bird while Michael Cullen was on his feet and the cameras were forced to focus only on Cullen and his neighbouring vicinity? Could that bird be shown? Is that newsworthy or not? He stands a chance of being the next Prime Minister. Is it a worthy topic for New Zealanders to consider in evaluating him as a Prime Ministerial contender?
Damn right it would be.
Ridiculing politicians has a long tradition and it is only genuinely funny when it has a backbone of truth. If it is unfunny or disrespectful then the TV ratings or subscriptions will drop. If it is funny, then go for it. Some have said that the only thing that stopped the English dallying with European fascism was their sense of humour.
Humour and satire are core democratic institutions and values.
We must stand up to politicians and their tyrannical impulses. This is bad for our democracy.
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Malvina Minor is a treble from Ngaio.

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