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Censorship Does Not Equal Openness

Censorship Does Not Equal Openness

The Government's recent announcement, that media reports on Family Court proceedings will be subject to censorship, makes a mockery of its claims that it is making the court more open, ACT New Zealand Deputy Leader and Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"The announcement by the Government yesterday, that judges will be able to require that news reports be submitted to the court for approval prior to publication, are tantamount to censorship of the highest order," Dr Newman said.

"This puts paid to the hopes that the Family Court was to become more open.

"There are already strong penalties for media organisations that break the understanding that children and victims of violence should be protected by name suppression - including up to three months imprisonment, $2000 fines for individuals and $10,000 fines for organisations.

"In the years of battling to open up the Family court, a key driving force has been the need for media scrutiny - a vital component of which is freedom.

"Labour's latest move, to curtail this freedom, risks undermining the efforts of all of those New Zealanders who have campaigned long and hard for more openness in the Family Court," Dr Newman said.

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