No it is an excellent thing. Most complaints are settled with an apology or a decision there is no breach. Actually prosecuting someone for their speech should be reserved for the most grotesque forms of speech such as literal incitement of hatred or violence of the basis of race.
Louisa Wall, the Labour MP for Manurewa, has taken Fairfax Media and its papers The Press and Marlborough Express to the Human Rights Review Tribunal over cartoons by Al Nisbet printed in May last year.
The cartoons depicted people taking advantage of the Government’s breakfast-in-schools programme to spend money on their vices.
So a Labour MP is trying to stop a newspaper from exercising editorial control over its cartoons, by having it effectively prosecuted. If you don’t like the cartoon, then don’t buy the paper.
Fairfax argued that the case concerned where to draw the line in section 61 complaints.
Wall had argued that it was too high a bar but Fairfax agreed with the Human Rights Commission that it should only be engaged at the serious end of the spectrum.
Lawyer Robert Stewart said if Wall’s approach was taken to its logical conclusion, any material that was “disrespectful, belittling, or that mocks a group on the ground of their colour, race or ethnicity” could be restricted by section 61.
I am sure that is what Labour wants. No more mocking.
Stewart said 61 should be interpreted “restrictively” to the serious end of the spectrum with “insulting” to mean “scornfully abusive”, and “bring into contempt”
to mean “regarding with deep despise, detestation or vilification”.
Stewart said it was clear the editors “were aware of the possibility for the cartoons to cause offence”.
However, “the right to freedom of expression is also a right to shock, offend, and disturb any sector of the population”.
Exactly. There is no right not to be offended.