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Freedom of speech must be protected

14 February 2005

Freedom of speech must be protected

The wrangling between Ian Fraser and TVNZ's Board over comments he made during a select committee appearance last year highlight an important issue over freedom of speech, the Green Party says.

"Witnesses appearing before parliamentary select committees must be free to express their views frankly and freely, and without fear of retribution," Broadcasting Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"If a third party feels they have been misrepresented by a witness, or that unfounded allegations have been made against them, there is a natural justice procedure which allows the aggrieved party to respond to any allegations that have been made.

"That option is open to TVNZ and that's the process they should have followed, instead of attacking Mr Fraser for the evidence he gave to the Finance Select Committee last year.

"Attacking someone for comments made before a select committee - which are protected by parliamentary privilege - sets a very dangerous precedent which must not be allowed to happen.

"The Green Party is determined that witnesses appearing before parliamentary select committees should not be able to be intimidated by other parties for freely expressing their views, and we will support any move to uphold these important parliamentary conventions which protect freedom of speech," Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS

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