The “anti satire” rule came about during the previous Labour government and was apparently aimed at preventing people from using Parliament TV footage for you-tube videos mocking MPs and Parliament.
The rule has never been used and the Clerk of the House and Parliamentary Press Gallery said in submissions to the Privileges Committee that it risked making Parliament “seem out of touch and weary of criticism”.
The Privileges Committee agreed though expressed reservations about people using Parliament TV footage to present a “false or misleading account of parliamentary proceedings”.
Glad to see the Privileges Committee agree the ban on satirical use should go. Was also good to see the Clerk of the House advocating for its removal.
The committee’s report followed an inquiry into the use of social media as a growing number of MPs use twitter, live streaming and Facebook to communicate with voters.
Recent examples including criticism of Parliament’s Speaker sparked the inquiry, which looked at whether there should be rules slapped on social media that made it a contempt to make certain comments or use video or photographic footage in some instances. Speaker David Carter had asked them to consider the matter.
But the committee backed away from new rules governing what MPs posted on social media when the House was sitting, saying any comments made by MPs on social media, including comments made from the debating Chamber, were not part of parliamentary proceedings.
However, it also warned that MPs were not protected by Parliamentary privilege, so should be aware that anything they said on social media was potentially actionable in court.
Also that MPs could be found in contempt under existing rules for what they say about other MPs.