Waitomo District Council's Media Policy Damages Democracy
The Free Speech Coalition says that attempts to prevent open dialogue between elected officials and the media and public amount to a gagging on local democracy and accountability.
Responding to the report by Stuff on Waitomo District Council adopting a new code of conduct which restricts what elected members can say publicly or post on social, Free Speech Coalition spokesman Jordan Williams said:
"We're encouraging elected officials to ignore these attempts by officials to gag local democracy. How on earth are voters expected to hold their local town hall to account if officials are able to dictate and manipulate what elected officials can tell media."
"Any democratic institution need opposition politicians. They are often the ones to work with media to uncover what those in power would rather you and I don't find out. These 'codes of conduct' are simply cloaks for a mechanism for council majorities to silence colleagues. It is an antithesis of local democracy and should be declared unlawful."