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Victory For Online Free Speech As Minister Scuppers Censorship Regime

“ACT is welcoming the Internal Affairs Minister’s decision to stop work on a new censorship regime for online speech,” says ACT Justice spokesman Todd Stephenson.

“This work was initiated under Jacinda Ardern as an extension of the previous government’s campaign to introduce hate speech legislation – work which has also rightly been shut down by the new Government.

“Brooke van Velden’s decision means we’re no longer engaged in an undemocratic process to set up a powerful new regulator of online speech.

“The proposals would have forced media and online platforms to restrict material that could impact a person’s ‘social, emotional or mental wellbeing’. Subjective ideas of ‘harm’ and ‘safety’ in a digital setting could have punished online platforms for hosting jokes or political speech, and ultimately would have stifled important conversations.

“New Zealanders deserve to be safe from intimidation and threats, online and off. Fortunately, we already have laws against harassment and incitement. We need to enforce existing laws, not set up a new online censorship regime, formulated beyond Parliamentary scrutiny and enforced by an unaccountable regulator.

“ACT campaigned for free speech and now we’re delivering on that promise in Government.”

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