The Free Speech Coalition is slamming the Minister for Corrections' referral to the Police of overblown claims of
'incitement to violence' related to a political pamphlet published by prison reform group People Against Prisons
Free Speech Coalition spokesperson and lawyer Stephen Franks says: "From our reading of the pamphlet, the Government's
view that it should be suppressed as punishable speech makes them unfit to govern a democracy."
"Thinking New Zealand should be fearful. If that pamphlet is the measure of ‘incitement to violence’ we can expect their
coming hate speech laws to disregard centuries of painful experience. Years of struggle, under threats of disorder far
more real than now, gave us the definitions that have protected our rights to protest, to expose government
ruthlessness, heartlessness and abuses of power."
"Expansions of the historically recognised limitations on free speech will inevitably be used to silence critics of the
powerful. If this government wants to know why lawbreaking protest is blossoming, they could look at their own
capitulation to unlawful acts. That is the real incitement."
"Free speech has always involved 'fighting talk'. As long as it is not calculated to incite imminent violence, it must
be accepted as necessary to the workings of a vigorous culture of political debate."