Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Meet the New Bob

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  • Jeremy Andrew,

    I read this a saying if an anonymous poster wants to post a comment here or on Kiwiblog, they can

    Yeah, I think it means we can post what we like, but Russell (as he presumably makes money from the blog, via ads) has to tell us his address.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Tim McKenzie,

    Section 53, which is unamended has this paragraph:

    Sorry, that's not what I meant to say. Section 53 was amended, but the paragraph I quoted wasn't.

    I'm not sure why DPF thought anonymous comments would be caught, but Russell's own posts on Hard News might be caught, since he sells advertising. IANAL either.

    Tim
    <><

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    I'm not sure why DPF thought anonymous comments would be caught,

    I'm not sure either. But I am pretty sure that some less reputable opponents than David wouldn't mind a press story or two getting the wrong end of the stick.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But DPF is right, it didn't used to cover oral speech [p.s. DPF: the word you're looking for is "oral" - with speech/mouth, not "verbal" - with words]. It now does. It's stupid, but as he points out, the Select Committee's commentary makes clear that it now intends megaphones to be covered. It pretty much makes meet the candidate evenings completely illegal.

    Fair enough. But it looks like a stupid error in trying to cover the change to align the definition of broadcasting with the one in the Broadcasting Act. (What did the previous definition say? Did it include the use of loudspeakers etc?) I presume they were looking to cover those annoying campaign vehicles with loudspeakers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Personally, I don't see what is wrong with election year being fought between registered political parties who have candidates up for election and policies for voters to look at and mull over.

    Indeed, Tom, and I'm sure Muldoon would have loved an legislative instrument to keep the anti-Tour movement firmly muzzled (or at least tied up challenging the EFB in the courts). I believe 1981 was an election year, and HART was not a registered political party fielding a full slate of candidates.

    Still, Tom, thanks for unintentionally outing yourself - your real agenda is stopping forms of speech you find electorally inconvenient. Which may be many things, but it is no species of principled support.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I can comment to my heart's desire, so far as I can see:

    **News media**

    We recommend amendments to clause 5(2)(c) and (d), and the insertion of new clause 5(2)(da), to make it clear that editorials, news and current affairs programmes, and news media publications on the Internet were exempt from the definition of election advertisement. The news media play an important role in any democracy, and we consider unnecessary restriction on news publications to be undesirable.

    My right to report and comment is further emphasised elsewhere in the text. I run a news media publication on the the internet and I have a Qantas Media Award to prove it. So far as I can see, my commercial status is irrelevant.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    RB
    please stop being so sensible
    how can people disagree with you if you use logic as your weapon of choice

    ;)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    if the EFB had existed in 81, and HART had been specifically against National as a political party/Muldoon as a candidate they could have registered and said what they wanted (with spending limits like National would have had).
    Of course, HART was more of an issues based advocacy and as such would not have been covered under this bill at all...

    Craig, I do agree that election year voice being limited to registered political parties only is OTT - but if the EFB had existed in 81, and HART had been specifically against National as a political party/Muldoon as a candidate they could have registered and said what they wanted (with spending limits like National would have had).
    Of course, HART was more of an issues based advocacy and as such would not have been covered under this bill at all...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    ????
    Let me repost that:

    Craig, I do agree that election year voice being limited to registered political parties only is OTT - but if the EFB had existed in 81, and HART had been specifically against National as a political party/Muldoon as a candidate they could have registered and said what they wanted (with spending limits like National would have had).
    Of course, HART was more of an issues based advocacy and as such would not have been covered under this bill at all...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Of course, HART was more of an issues based advocacy and as such would not have been covered under this bill at all...

    Well, Gareth, I can point you to a few people who were active in the anti-Tour movement who felt that it was part of a larger project to turf Piggy the Fascist and his Tory litter out. I'd say good luck drawing a hard and fast line there... but I guess we can just leave the courts to figure it out.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Tim McKenzie,

    But it looks like a stupid error in trying to cover the change to align the definition of broadcasting with the one in the Broadcasting Act. (What did the previous definition say? Did it include the use of loudspeakers etc?)

    The change they're referring to here is the inclusion of (i) after (h) in the definition of "publish" in section 4:

    **publish** in relation to an advertisement,
    means to—
    ...
    (i) bring to the notice of the public in any other manner

    I don't think they were being very careful when they wrote that.

    Tim
    <><

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    I must say that Muldoon would have been one to try and hold a law like this very much on his side of things, but if a group of people were looking to turf out one party it's not beyond comprehension that it should be open/transparent and that the group should have limits similar to that of the political party they are fighting against...

    Possibly off down my Devils Advocate road I must admit, but I do think this new suggested bill is vastly improved. It sticks to the idea that political parties have spending limits and therefore so should third party electoral groups to avoid a unrelated electoral battle that would avoid all those limits. It tightens itself up to try and focus on that alone and while it has some strange outcomes (DPF's megaphone comment) they seem to be simply because of an attempt for consistency (I couldn't broadcast an anti-ACT radio ad without declaration and therefore shouldn't be able to holler the same ad all over Queen St)

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Tim McKenzie,

    I run a news media publication on the the internet and I have a Qantas Media Award to prove it.

    You have a good point there. However, there is no exception for less talented (or even just differently-focussed) bloggers, whose blogs contain only opinions and paid advertisements, but not news.

    By the way, I think I'm starting to see where DPF might be coming from, with regard to anonymous comments on blogs. The exception someone pointed out earlier was:

    (g) the publication by an individual, on a non-commercial basis, on the Internet of his or her personal political views (being the kind of publication commonly known as a blog).

    Anonymous comments on blogs are the publication by an individual, on a non-commercial basis, on the Internet of his or her personal political views (being the kind of publication commonly known as a comment on a blog.

    Your exception, on the other hand---

    (da) any editorial material, other than advertising material, published on a news media website that is written by, or selected by or with the authority of, the editor or person responsible for the website solely for the purpose of informing, enlightening, or entertaining readers:

    ---doesn't cover anonymous comments, either, unless they're written or selected by you, or selected with your authority. I don't think the Public Address System, as currently set up, involves you "selecting" comments.

    So, DPF might be right after all; depending on the content of our comments, we might need to give our real names and addresses, too.

    And you'll need to be careful about (da), too; make sure you don't try to persuade your readers---you're only allowed to inform, enlighten, and entertain them.

    Tim
    <><

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    (I couldn't broadcast an anti-ACT radio ad without declaration and therefore shouldn't be able to holler the same ad all over Queen St)

    Taking your hypothetical a step further, Gareth, take a look atthis BSA decision.

    Now, that advert may have been properly declared up the wazoo, but the real issue for me is that it was, at best, seriously misleading if not outright deceptive. I don't know, perhaps I'm a little more worried about folks just telling lies than jumping at Exclusive Brethren under the bed, and foreign bagmen in the closet.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    I don't know, perhaps I'm a little more worried about folks just telling lies than jumping at Exclusive Brethren under the bed, and foreign bagmen in the closet.

    Absolutely, outright lying seems to have become a more acceptable "political argument" in recent times. If we could firm up the legislation around that, I'd be much keener than relatively minor electoral finance reform

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Anonymous comments on blogs are the publication by an individual, on a non-commercial basis, on the Internet of his or her personal political views (being the kind of publication commonly known as a comment on a blog.

    And this might not be directly pertinent to discussion of the Bill, but what about anon-i-bloggers? At least, I know David Farrar and Russell Brown; even have their home addresses and phone numbers tucked away in my address book. What about Idiot/Savant, the pseudonymous chaps at The Standard and Kiwiblogblog and their equivalents on the right?

    I'd also note there's a rather disturbing trend for bloggers to become mouthpieces for various campaigns (both covertly, overtly and once they've been outed). On one level, it might take some of the toxicity out of the political blogisphere if some folks couldn't piss on others from behind a pseudonym, but I can see it all getting rather messy.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Tim McKenzie,

    Well, Gareth, I can point you to a few people who were active in the anti-Tour movement who felt that it was part of a larger project to turf Piggy the Fascist and his Tory litter out.

    If that's true, then it would have been caught under this bill:

    **5 Meaning of election advertisement**
    (1) In this Act, election advertisement
    (a) means any form of words or graphics, or both, that can reasonably be regarded as doing 1 or more of the following:
    ...
    (ii) encouraging or persuading voters to vote, or not to vote, for a type of party or for a type of candidate that is described or indicated by reference to views, positions, or policies that are or are not held, taken, or pursued (whether or not the name of a party or the name of a candidate is stated);

    Furthermore, if it seemed to encourage people to vote Labour, then they would have needed Labour's written permission:

    **55 Requirements for election advertisements that promote parties or candidates**
    (1) A promoter must not publish, or cause or permit to be published, an election advertisement that encourages or persuades, or appears to encourage or persuade, voters to vote for a party unless the advertisement—
    (a) is authorised in writing by the financial agent of the party; and
    ...

    Labour probably wouldn't give that permission, because that would invoke section 106, which ensures that:

    (2) The election expense of the election advertisement forms part of the election expenses of the third party and also forms part of the election expenses of the party or, as the case requires, the candidate whose financial agent authorised the election advertisement.

    (Throughout this post, all italics are mine.)

    Tim
    <><

    Lower Hutt • Since Apr 2007 • 119 posts Report Reply

  • Jimmy Hayes,

    Sorry, how exactly was it deceptive? I admit to not reading the whole decision but this part jumped out:

    [17] The Authority asked the Labour Party to provide the information upon which it had based the claim that the Māori Party had voted the same way as National 227 times. The Labour Party provided a comprehensive bill-by-bill breakdown of the votes recorded by the Māori Party in Parliament. The total number of times that the Māori Party was recorded to have voted with National, excluding urgency and conscience votes, was 277.

    [18] Following release of the original decision, the Labour Party explained the following:

    The figures provided by the Parliamentary Library initially gave the number as 227

    When the advertisement was first recorded, however, the number 277 was mistakenly used. It was this recording that was supplied to the Authority

    This error was discovered by the Labour Party shortly before the advertisement aired, and the number in the advertisement was changed to 227

    A subsequent manual check of the records by Labour Party staff, however, indicated that the number that should have been used was 277.

    [19] A copy of the table supplied by the Labour Party, showing the result of 277, is annexed to this decision as Appendix Two.

    Messy, but it does seem reasonably legit on Labour's part. And in the decision, the inaccuracy complaint is upheld because the broadcast number of times Maori Party voted with National was lower than the real number!

    Since Apr 2007 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Ugh, I hate having to fisk myself...

    I'd also note there's a rather disturbing trend in the United States recently for bloggers to become mouthpieces for various campaigns (both covertly, overtly and once they've been outed). Both Republicans and Democrats (and various nominees for their respective Presidential nominations) appear to be quite vigourously courting -- or co-opting if you want to be less generous -- political bloggers. And the line between supportive commentary and sock puppet hackery seems rather fine.

    [Text I forgot to paste in is bolded.]

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Messy, but it does seem reasonably legit on Labour's part. And in the decision, the inaccuracy complaint is upheld because the broadcast number of times Maori Party voted with National was lower than the real number!

    Here's where it's deceptive, Jimmy - both National and the Maori Party voted against the Foreshore & Seabed Bill, but for entirely different reasons. In the end, it would be every bit as deceptive as the Maori Party running an advert noting that Labour has 'voted with National' tens of thousands of times - if you count committee votes, uncontentious procedural motions and so forth. Here's Spin101 - the best lie is a pearl of deception wrapped around a grain of truth.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Anonymous comments on blogs are the publication by an individual, on a non-commercial basis, on the Internet of his or her personal political views (being the kind of publication commonly known as a comment on a blog.

    That's a distinction important in attributing things correctly in the blogosphere, but not one you could argue in court (such an argument wouldn't play well in a defamation case, for example). Comments are part of a blog site like letters to the editor are part of a newspaper.

    OTOH, I'm looking at this as an internet-based news media publication site. I have invited comment (and earn money, not enough lately, from page impressions generated by it) as do the Herald and Stuff. Honestly, I don't think there's an issue here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • 100 Word,

    The EFB may contribute to shifting campaigning toward the blogosphere amongst other places. Restrictions on spending will probably make things like getting supporters to blog, comment on blogs, ringing talkback and the traditional shoe leather campaigning more important.

    This may make the campaign even more tiresome than usual.

    Since Sep 2007 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    As far as I can tell, the prime purpose of the bill is to make me have to consult with three lawyers before telling anyone that they should vote for XXX and not YYY.

    Summary: Oh goody.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    If this Act gives freedom to the press can somebody please explain if it was Disinfo-Bomber on RNZ this avo?

    Was it Disinfo-Bomber who marched with Garth McVicar of the Sensible Sentencing Trust?

    And was it Disinfo -Bomber who made a few good points on Climate Change on RNZ?

    Bomber if you side with Garth McVicar you're nolonger part of the Social Justice Movement.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Is some tough reading but...

    ...it's well worth it if you're intereste din our democracy. And the argument will only be improved if people are actually familiar with what they are arguing about.

    (This goes for all legislation, BTW. Don't leave it to the wonks like me. It's available, it's easily accessible, so read the stuff and let the pollies know what you think of it)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

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