The way that the Harmful Digital Legislation Bill is shaping up, we’re going to be in for a hard time. If you think our current moderation is over the top, you’ll be surprised to see that under the new Bill I won’t be able to write ferals, road maggots or political retard without risking a continuous barrage of complaints.
Balancing free speech and “harmful” speech is difficult.
I will be returning to this issue as we come to grips with what lies ahead, but I thought I’d start with this piece penned by ACT’s David Seymour. ACT is the only one holding out against this Bill, and it appears to me that instead of being petulant and liberal on principle, there are real problems ahead.
The Harmful Digital Communications Bill looks set to pass into law next week. I have voted against it, and have moved amendments in an attempt to improve the Bill. I want to explain why I oppose this Bill.
The legislation has good intentions – to protect people, especially young people, from online bullying.
But we can’t judge policies and programs by their intentions. It is results that matters. Bad legislation with good intentions is still bad legislation.
The Government faced a difficult task. Any law in this area must balance the need to protect its citizens from harm and the need to protect free speech, including freedom of the press. As stated famously by Voltaire, free speech involves adopting the view that while “I may disapprove of what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Read more »