Scrapping Sedition

The NZ Herald reports that the Law Commission released a report today, calling for the review of sedition laws. I strongly back their call.

People should not be going to jail for what they say, as opposed to what they do.

Yes there are some limits on free speech. You don’t want someone to be able to advocate the killing of political leaders etc, but that can be dealt with under other laws. The sedition clause that gives me the most problems is:

To bring into hatred or contempt, or to excite disaffection, against Her Majesty, or the Government of New Zealand or the administration of justice.

As someone opposed to both Her Majesty and the current Government, and who enjoys exciting disaffection, a zealous police force could cause problems. And after decades with no sedition prosecutions we have seen two this year alone.

The Law Commission notes:

The Commission has concluded that the seditious offences set out in the Crimes Act 1961 are overly broad and uncertain. They infringe on the principle of freedom of expression, and have the potential for abuse – a potential which has been realised in some periods of our history, when these offences have been used to stifle or punish political speech.

As expected No Right Turn has a post on this issue. Details of how to make a submission are on his site. The deadline is 15 December and given time I hope to make one.

In an earlier post NRT also highlights how the PM when asked about sedition laws said: “I have no view on it at all. I’ve never read the law of sedition. I’ve taken no interest in it whatsoever.” which is surprising as two Labour PMs have been charged with it in the past. Plus I can’t imagien she is unaware of the Tim Selwyn case.

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