Sedition Case An Assault on Free Speech
Freedom of Speech
Sedition Case An Assault on Free Speech – Libz Leader
“Tim Selwyn's prosecution for sedition once again highlights this government's contempt for freedom of expression,” said Libertarianz leader Bernard Darnton today.
“Selwyn's act of vandalism has already been dealt with under a separate charge, to which he's pleaded guilty. The sedition charge is simply an attempt to punish criticism of the government.
“The law against sedition is a medieval hangover that should be removed from our law books immediately. Sedition law is an assault on free speech – it only criminalises political expression.
Speech that really incites violence can be dealt with under existing laws against public disorder, as pointed out by Sir Geoffrey Palmer during a review of Crimes Act Reform: 'Sedition should not be a crime in a democratic society committed to free speech. Libelling the government must be permitted in a free society.'
“Using this archaic law to try and silence its critics is typical of both this government's high-handedness and its disrespect for freedom of expression.
“Freedom of expression is the most important pillar of a free society and yet this government has a terrible record in defending it.
They have investigated regulating hate speech; they have kept holocaust-deniers from visiting the country because of their objectionable opinions; they have told newspaper editors to sacrifice their freedom to print satirical cartoons because it might cost us a few trade dollars; and now they are pursuing a protester with an outdated law because he dared to question their confiscation of the foreshore and seabed.
“Sedition law makes it illegal to bring into 'hatred or contempt [...] the Government of New Zealand'. Yet with its lack of concern for freedom of expression this government is worthy only of hatred and contempt.”