NetSafe Attempts to Censor Opposition Blog Sites in Aotearoa

I am writing this in solidarity with the crew of the TheDailyBlog, I’ve just discovered they have been subject to attempts at political censorship by the quazi-governmental speech police at the offices of NetSafe

I am writing this in solidarity with the crew of the TheDailyBlog*, a left-leaning blog site that publishes new writing about politics in Aotearoa (NZ). I’ve just discovered they have been subject to attempts at political censorship by the quazi-governmental speech police at the offices of NetSafe. I salute the firm stand taken by editor Editor Bomber Bradbury, and NetSafe would get a similar reply if they contacted me about censoring Disintermedia.net.nz:

"Netsafe demanded that I respond within 48 hours as to whether or not I would comply with their requests for censorship, so let me respond publicly to Netsafe.

You can censor The Daily Blog the day you take the keyboard from my cold dead hands. The content you have asked to be censored is not defamatory and allowing secret censorship of political blogs is the most dangerous and disturbing part of your powers.

This blog ain’t for turning”

NetSafe also sent an email about its desire to police TDB comments to The Standard, a centre-left NZ politics blog, whose editors have expressed open contempt for TDB and Bradbury in the past, and vice-versa, but they obviously can’t help NetSafe with their enquiries. Editor LPrent went to some trouble to explain, in detail, with references to the relevant piece of law, exactly how badly NetSafe failed to properly do the job the NZ state pays it millions of dollars a year to do. The incompetence of these digital keystone cops is truly breath-taking, and this high farce on the high seas of the internet would be hilarious, if their job wasn’t to undermine freedom of speech online.

The powers NetSafe is trying (and failing) to exercise are delegated to them under legislation passed by the NZ Parliament in 2015. As I said in a somewhat polemical blog piece at the time:

"Parliament called it the Harmful Digital Communications Bill, a valiant attempt at a euphemistic title which would not be out of place in novel by George Orwell, but which turns out to be accurate enough, as it is a Harmful Bill about Digital Communications. However, I prefer to use another title which more accurately describes it’s effects; the Harmful Digital Censorship Bill."

In that piece, I used some pretty strong language to describe the MPs who voted for and against this underhanded, anti-democratic piece of legislation. I said I would republish them once the Act had come into effect, as an act of civil disobedience against it. Now that it has, clearly vindicating the criticisms made by myself and many other commentators across the political spectrum, I am furious about this staggeringly stupid piece of law-making all over again. So I say again…

The five Members of Parliament who took a principled stand and voted against this terrifyingly bad piece of legislation are heroes; Gareth Hughes of the Greens, Russel Norman of the Greens, Julie Anne Genter of the Greens, Steffan Browning of the Greens, and David Seymour of ACT.

The MPs who voted for this bill, all MPs from National, Labour, and NZ First, the solo MPs from United Future, and the Māori Party, and the remaining Green MPs including its co-leaders Metiria Turei and James Shaw, are traitors to democracy, and mealy-mouthed apologists for fascism. I agree utterly with Idiot/Savant of NoRightTurn, fuck you all. You are sad sacks of shit, and I hope you all hang yourselves in your garden sheds if this new law is not repealed.

I apologise to the reader for my unusual gutter language, but not to those MPs, who thoroughly deserve it, and worse. Nobody has to read anything on my blog, any more than they have to read anything on theDailyBlog, the Standard, Indymedia, WhaleOil, or any other blog site. If they choose to do so, they can say anything they want to on their own blog in reply. That’s how freedom of speech works. You may not agree with this, but if you claim to believe in freedom or democracy, then you damn well better fight to the death for my right to say it.

Finally, for the sake of anyone who works for NetSafe who might find themselves unmoved by these statements of basic principle, be aware that I will republishing this piece on a range of different websites, none of them hosted in Aotearoa, nor subject to the whims of the NZ state and its censorship laws. I am the author and publisher of my blog pieces, and if you have a problem with their contents, you can talk to me.

  • For the sake of full disclosure: I’ve had a few guest blogs published on TDB. But I believe I’d be saying the same thing if NetSafe went after any political blog, regardless of its ideological leanings, in fact I’ve made a number of comments on TDB defending the free speech of that rumour-mongering pit of McCarthyist foulness, Whale Oil.

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