Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Electoral Commission Censors Musician


Electoral Commission Censors Musician and Undermines Freedom of Speech

The Electoral Commission has told Darren Watson, a musician, to stop selling or promoting his satirical song "Planet Key" or he may face prosecution.

The song and music video satirises John Key and members of the National Government in a humorous way. The music video has had more than 80,000 hits on video websites, including Vimeo and YouTube http://vimeo.com/102441715

"This is simply a satirical song. I wrote it at home and it's the musical expression of my own personal views", says Mr Watson. Jeremy Jones of Propeller Motion, the maker of the video, says he was motivated to make the amusing Monty Python-style animated clip after hearing the song and seeing an opportunity to work on a creative project with Mr Watson. Neither of the men received any payment for producing the work, but have sold the song through i-Tunes to recoup some of their costs.

However, the Electoral Commission has not seen the funny side and Mr Watson has received a letter saying that the Commission considers the song and associated video are "election advertisements" under the Electoral Act and "election programmes" under the Broadcasting Act.

The Electoral Commission is also threatening that the sale of the song through i-Tunes without a promoter statement is "an apparent breach of section 204F of the Electoral Act", which is an illegal practice punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.

"I object to the suggestion that I am some sort of political promoter. I am a musician and I feel very strongly about this kind of censorship", says Mr Watson. "I believe in artistic freedom."

The Commission has told TV and radio stations they should not broadcast the song outside of news programmes. The prohibition on broadcasting the song applies as a permanent ban, and not just at election time.

Lawyer for Mr Watson and Mr Jones, Wendy Aldred, says she has asked the Electoral Commission to reconsider its opinion, saying the Commission's letter is incorrect in its approach to the law, fails to take into account Mr Watson's right to freedom of expression under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, and is heavy-handed.

If the Electoral Commission does not revise its opinion the matter is likely to go to Court.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Parliament Today:

Werewolf: The Defence Pretence

Last year, the world began spending more money on weapons again, for the first time since 2011... New Zealand belongs to a region – Asia and Oceania – where military spending rose sharply in 2015, by 5.4 per cent. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Not Crying Foul, Argentina

So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer... More>>

ALSO:

Urban & Rural: $303m To Merge And Modernise New Zealand’s Fire Services

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced funding of $303 million over five years to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017. More>>

ALSO:

High Trust Regime: What Did The PM Tell His Lawyer About Foreign Trusts?

The Government stopped the IRD from reviewing New Zealand foreign trusts shortly after the Prime Minister’s lawyer wrote to the Revenue Minister claiming John Key had promised him the regime would not be changed. More>>

ALSO:

Road Crime: Wicked Campers Vans Classified As Objectionable

The definition of publication includes any "thing that has printed or impressed upon it, or otherwise shown upon it, 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words", The Classification Office has previously classified such 'things' as billboards, t-shirts, and even a drink can. This is the first time the Classification Office has classified a vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

'When New' Repairs: Landmark EQC Settlement

The Earthquake Commission has cut a deal with 98 Canterbury homeowners that affirms the government entity's responsibility to repair earthquake-damaged property to a 'when new' state, as well as covering repairs for undamaged parts of a property and clarifying its position on cash settlement calculations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Kiwirail’s Latest Stint In The Dogbox

The denigration of Kiwirail continues. The latest review (based on a 2014 assessment) of the options facing the company have enabled Kiwirail to be hung out to dry once again as a liability and burden on the taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society Report: Good Opportunities To Act Now On Climate Change

There are many actions New Zealand can and should take now to reduce the threat of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy, a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news