I think the Speaker has over reacted by banning media access to the ground floor of Parliament House where the select committees meet. Following Brian Connell to outside the toilet was probably unwise by TVNZ, but the media should have access to MPs when they are going into and out of the House and Select Committees.
While it is not a co-ordinated programme, the cumulative effect of growing media restrictions is a cause for concern. Steven Price blogged last week on a public forum (I was going to attend but got too busy) by the Chairs of the NZ and Australian Press Councils and a member fo the NZ Law Commission. The comments below come from retired High Court Judge Barry Paterson who chairs the NZ Press Council:
He is worried that statutes and regulations may be chipping away at freedom of expression. Examples: restrictions on reporting about suicide in the Coroners Act; the proposal to restrict access to births, deaths and marriages registers; the restrictions on policitcal speech in the Electoral Finance Act (he was surprised that the Crown Law Office vet deferred to the government’s political judgment, and that this “margin of appreciation” could tip a finely balanced freedom of expression issue in favour of allowing encroachment); the possibility of wide codes, and later regulations, aimed at non-communicable diseases, affecting the advertising, sponsorship and marketing of particular goods under the Public Health Bill; and the proposal to amalgamate regulation of various media platforms.
On numerous fronts, the right to know and the right to free speech get encroached.Tags: Barry Paterson, free speech, Margaret Wilson, Media, Press Council, Steven Price, TVNZ