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Q+A: Helen Clark and Kathy Errington interviewed by Tame

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark told Q+A tonight that Jacinda Ardern has a chance to create change at her Paris summit this week.

“Jacinda has really scored a triumph in being invited as the leader of a small country to go to the G7 summit and talk about these issues. That’s incredibly important. So New Zealand is in a leadership role. What she is proposing with others with the Christchurch Call is around terrorist and violent extremism. Our issues, obviously, in the discussion paper are going a bit wider than that. But I think she’s got a real opportunity to set the pace here.”

Ms Clark appeared on the programme to release a new report by the Helen Clark Foundation on social media regulation.

She admitted a change to hate speech laws would not have prevented the Christchurch Mosque attacks.

“Not necessarily. I think that takes us into the accompanying issue in the report which is the issue of social media regulation, which no society has yet really cracked.”

Foundation executive director Kathy Errington said social media should come under control of a regulatory body:

“To start with, what we want is for the government to at least review and bring our laws up to standard, and one way we propose that could be done is by having an independent regulator similar to the BSA that is, of course, regulating our conversation now, and I don’t feel particularly constrained by that body. I don’t think it unduly limits freedom of speech. But what this regulator could do is agree a set of standards, have a process where public input could be gathered and to where the lines are drawn. Because like I said before, the current situation isn’t a free-for-all of free speech on social media. They take content off all the time. For example, I’ve been in new mothers’ groups and I have my baby, and breastfeeding content was removed all the time because it violated rules on nudity, and I don’t agree with that, but I had no forum where I had a right to be heard to protest that. So what we are saying is we need democratic models of how this could be done.”

Ms Clark added: “ What I’m concerned about is that the rising level of rhetoric on social media from people who think they can get away with just about anything. And let’s face it, they can. I have regularly reported very hateful content, and very often you just get these reports dismissed. So that’s why you now need what this report recommends, which is the statutory duty to self-regulate, and then you need the regulator overseeing that.”

Please find the full transcript attached and the interview here.


Q+A, 9:30pm Mondays on TVNZ 1 and one hour later on TVNZ 1 + 1.
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