The World Press Freedom Index is out and after 9 years under National, NZ has dropped 8 places from 5 to 13. Here’s what the report had to say…
Media freedom thrives in New Zealand but is not entirely exempt from political pressure. The media continue to demand changes to the Official Information Act, which obstructs the work of journalists by allowing government agencies a long period of time to respond to information requests and even makes journalists pay several hundred dollars for the information. In August 2016, the government revealed a grim future for whistleblowers, announcing a bill that would criminalize leaking government information to the media and would dramatically increase the surveillance powers of the intelligence services. Journalists, bloggers, and civil society representatives would be among the potential targets of the proposed law, which could be adopted in 2017.
…that’s right. Strangulation of official information requests, mass surveillance, police abuse of powers against journalists like Nicky Hager and bloggers like me on top of draconian legislation that will allow the Government to imprison any whistle blower who alerts the media to illegal mass surveillance by the state are legacy abuses of power by the National Party. The new Government must make the Official Information Act meaningful again, dump the whistle blower legislation and demand better protocols over the Police spying on journalists and bloggers.
The Human Rights Review Tribunal must be better funded so that there is a better counter weight to police power abuse, my case has still not been given a date for prosecution against the Police and it happened in 2014!