INDEPENDENT NEWS

Flag Burning Is Not Speech

Published: Fri 21 May 2004 02:35 PM
Flag Burning Is Not Speech
Friday 21 May 2004
Stephen Franks Press Releases - Crime & Justice
If the courts find that the Bill of Rights obliges them to support Paul Barry Hopkinson's defence to charges of dishonouring the New Zealand flag, Parliament should immediately change the law, ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.
"The effect of flag-burning derives solely from its power to shock and offend. It is not speech; it is not expression. It is the suppression and destruction of others' expression," Mr Franks said.
"Our forebears fought to protect freedom to debate, to reason. They had in mind freedom to persuade by evidence of commitment and passion.
"Flag-burning derives its impact only from its offensiveness. The burner is saying they feel so strongly that they are willing to risk punishment, and willing to trample people's emotions to be heard.
"Even flag-burners should want the law upheld. To remove the legal penalties - or not to enforce them - deprives the burning of significance.
"The best thing that could come out of this case would be a non-political public debate about the New Zealand flag, about what it should mean, and what it should be," Mr Franks said.
ENDS

Next in New Zealand politics

Government and Air NZ agree to manage incoming bookings
By: New Zealand Government
New Investment Creates Over 2000 Jobs To Clean Up Waterways
By: New Zealand Government
David Clark resigns as Health Minister
By: New Zealand Government
Green Party Proposes Transformational Poverty Action Plan
By: Green Party
New protection for dolphins
By: New Zealand Government
Auckland water consent referred to Board of Inquiry
By: New Zealand Government
Hamish Walker - A Personal Statement And An Apology
By: New Zealand National Party
Labour will extend loan scheme 'lifeline' for small business - PM
By: RNZ
Winston Peters on EU travel: 'We're not going to compromise our country's health'
By: RNZ
Infrastructure Investment To Create Jobs, Kick-start COVID Rebuild
By: New Zealand Government
Government Strengthens Managed Isolation System
By: New Zealand Government
ACT Announces List For 2020 General Election
By: ACT New Zealand
Air New Zealand Limits Capacity On Inbound International Services
By: Air New Zealand
Border Lockdown Shows Labour Governing For Labour
By: ACT New Zealand
Cash Boost For Wairarapa Waterways
By: Marcus Anselm - Local Democracy Reporter
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media