The PMs censorship panel highlights all that’s wrong with the current social media/free speech debate

By   /   May 12, 2019  /   22 Comments

TDB recommends Voyager - Unlimited internet @home as fast as you can get

So the panel advising the PM on censuring the internet is an industry spokesperson, a corporate media interest, an angry Twitter rage tech person, a lawyer, a state wonk and someone who used to sing Popera?

And this isn’t a joke?

So the panel advising the PM on censuring the internet is an industry spokesperson, a corporate media interest, an angry Twitter rage tech person…

…a lawyer, a state wonk and someone who used to sing Popera?

And this isn’t a joke?

The feral defense of a panel advising the Prime Minister on censorship of the internet is funny & its Twitter abuse ironic but the issue isn’t who is on the panel, the issue is that there are no civil rights & free speech academics or activists on it!

Tribalism aside you can’t seriously think that’s ok???

This is for advice on one of the most important issues of our time, regulation of social media behemoths who have crowded the public town square with every variation of skinhead, white supremacist, anti-vaxx, and Infowar alt-right hate trolls.

That’s a huge balancing act when it comes to free speech and the solution to that problem can’t be micro aggression policing millennial snowflakes alongside Generation Y victim enablers, toting emotional support peacocks with gender binary woke vegan activists as gatekeepers.

Surely not?

Instead of arguing for our values and being inspirational about defending free speech while enabling agency for those deprived power and platform, the debate from the Woke Left is all about deplatforming whatever is defined as hate speech and in the age of subjective rage, most of the people on the PMs advisory panel have all vocalised pretty ambitious desires to ban a lot of speech as hate speech.

I’m guessing by even suggesting there should be some civil rights activists and free speech academics on this panel I’m already being a heteronormative patriarchal cis-male war criminal?

That’s how dementedly tribal this debate is getting.

While Action Station want Jacinda to go way further than simply regulating social media, Public Address ran a Shit Talking blog attacking commercial media’s dynamic of elevating confrontational opinions for ratings as if it was something just discovered last week. With all the insight of a year one media studies student, the blog calls on deplatforming media who engage in controversial opinions while at the very same time as calling on everyone to get Herald subscriptions to support ‘real journalism’.

Note it’s not the market dynamics of an unregulated media industry gaining monopoly positions, oh no, it’s right wing arseholes with opinions that we desperately need to censor.

Look, I don’t like most of the right wing pundits either, but if your ‘hate speech’ threshold is Mike Hosking, then you are the threat to democracy, not Mike bloody Hosking.

The solution to the central premise in the Public Address blog is that we need a properly regulated media environment, not propping up the NZ Herald! The public town square has been over run because the Government left it to the free market to define, and now that’s been a failure everyone wants to start blaming symptoms rather than root causes.

Like the housing market, like the dominance of the overseas banks, and oil companies and supermarkets, we have another market failure here, that’s why right wing arseholes get more air time. The cosy duopoly between Fairfax and NZME is the issue with the lack of real alternate voices outside the narrow paradigm expressed in corporate media, but a regulatory reflection isn’t the focus here, it’s banning speech we don’t like and are offended by.

I’ve seen on my social media feeds what many of my woke comrades would ban and it makes me as nervous as allowing the alt-right trolls to pollute the dialogue.

The truth is that we are already stained by social media in ways we are barely comprehending. The ability to alienate one another means gaining solidarity on the truly important issues of our day like radically adapting for climate change gets buried in a cacophony of personal outrage and virtue signalling from both sides of the political divide.

Public funding and a radical reshape of the obligations current media corporates have to fund public square broadcasting is the solution here, not banning Mike Hosking and forming panels with a very narrow view on free speech.

 

 

***
Want to support this work? Donate today
***
Follow us on Twitter & Facebook
***

22 Comments

  1. CLEANGREEN says:

    100% Martyn.

    “Public funding and a radical reshape of the obligations current media corporates have to fund public square broadcasting is the solution here”

    I voted for Jacinda when she and her dopey about to be “Minister of Broadcasting” ‘Clare Curran’s promise to give us a $40M dollar “free to air tv channel” remember that?

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/98227688/labour-confirms-big-picture-policy-on-public-media

    Jacinda stood there on the poduim before the 2017 election at the Auckland town Hall, stating that we would have that public channel to use as a voice to speak up on our issues, as the current media would not cover.

    So they had better honour their promises made to us well before 2020 otherwise they are toast.

    • D'Esterre says:

      Cleangreen: “Jacinda stood there on the poduim before the 2017 election at the Auckland town Hall, stating that we would have that public channel to use as a voice to speak up on our issues, as the current media would not cover.”

      Oh yes, I remember that now! Crikey, I’d forgotten all about it, buried as it has been under the huge pile of broken promises.

      No chance it’ll ever come about now, I suppose.

  2. Daniel says:

    Why is action station so focused on speech way over and above the environment and traditionally left wing concerns like workers’ rights? I don’t get it.

    • Revel says:

      [Comment declined for publication. Unsubstantiated conspiracy material. – Scarletmod]

    • D'Esterre says:

      Daniel: “Why is action station so focused on speech way over and above the environment and traditionally left wing concerns like workers’ rights?”

      All may not be what it seems regarding ActionStation. Having got onto their mailing list for signing some long-forgotten petition, I’ve been getting increasingly hectoring e-mails from them. Which I delete. Unread.

      Following a link in a post about Rachel Stewart, I tripped over this snippet recently:

      “I found the strangest series of coincidences after this latest attack on Rachel Stewart. I looked at this Godfrey fella and it seems he works for some outfit called “The Workshop NZ”. Looking further at this lobby company’s news section it seems that Godfrey and some of his other Twitter mates who have these divisive views concerned Trans, and LGBT issues, are being funded by the Omidyar Network, owned by eBay Billionaire Pierre Omidyar, a French-Iranian based in Silicon Valley. See: https://www.theworkshop.org.nz/

      Then I noticed that the Workshop people seemed to cross over with the “Action Station” petition site we hear a lot about these days, which is ALSO funded by Pierre Omidyar! It seems some commentators like Matthew Hooton have also noticed this. See: https://twitter.com/MatthewHootonNZ/status/1101550036633206786

      It also seems that all the Action Station people are “fellows” at “Australian Progressives”: https://www.progressives.org.au/

      And also that Action Station has a non-unique tagline “People power change” that is shared by dozens of other groups around the world with the same tagline around about the same time (2013ish). See: https://www.the-open.net/network

      So, we have a bunch of grassroots activists, some of whom wrecked the Pride Parade, all friends on Twitter, seemingly working directly or indirectly for a foreign billionaire oligarch, and being funded by overseas bodies… and they are aspiring to political power.

      All of this seemed particularly hypocritical to me with the Action Station supporting Greens asking for a review around foreign influence…”

      This induces in me even more scepticism regarding the motivations of these people. I wouldn’t trust a one of them. On any issue, but especially on anything to do with free speech and regulation of social media.

  3. Marc says:

    We should be worried, when ‘shit speech’ is also now considered bad enough to be banned.

    Opinion and speech zealots appear too keen to rule over us in the future. Like the teetotalers and prohibitionists they appear to sense some oxygen is there for them to breathe on.

    Is this the preparation for Orwell’s 1984 type future society?

    • D'Esterre says:

      Marc: “We should be worried, when ‘shit speech’ is also now considered bad enough to be banned.’

      Especially when Joshua Drummond’s definition (below) fairly accurately describes most msm news reportage in NZ, at least in respect of international affairs and politics, and has for pretty much all of my longish life:

      “Shit speech is the stuff that might not necessarily be described as hate speech, but it occupies much of the same spectrum. It’s speech that presses the buttons of prejudice, bigotry and outrage, but isn’t necessarily hateful per se; that isn’t (always) lies, but is most often inaccurate, skewed, or otherwise misleading. It’s the floating turd in gutter journalism.”

      And, according to Drummond, the purveyors of such speech are – as well as the usual suspects Leighton Smith, Mike Hosking, Heather duPlessis Allan – “I’d also count Chris Trotter and Bomber Bradbury among our stable of shit-talkers, as well as other voices on the Left who seem to glory in stoking conflict.”

      Furthermore, when he claims that:

      “common topics that shit speech explores include, but are not limited to, immigrants and refugees, the “entitlement” of Maori, LGBTQI issues, the “Treaty grievance industry,” and the full spectrum of climate change denial. (Anti-Islam rhetoric usually features prominently, but for some reason, it hasn’t much lately. I wonder why.)”

      I think that we can safely say that, for Drummond and Russell Brown, along with most of those in the comment thread of that article, shit/hate speech consists of opinions that they don’t like. For the life of me, I can’t see what the problem is with any of the above topics; it’s not what people say that is of moment, but what they do.

      I note, by the way, that there’s no mention of so-called white supremacy and neo-Nazism: surely topics that would seriously bunch the undies of these people.

      I think it paradoxical that they want to deplatform both Left- and Right-wing commentators; I therefore assume that they’d all characterise themselves as the woke Left.

      I conclude that they want shit/hate speech banned because they’re concerned that there might be some truth in some of it, and they firmly believe that they know best what the rest of us should read or hear, because we’re unable to discriminate between commentary which is worth consideration and that which is crap.

      • “And, according to Drummond, the purveyors of such speech are – as well as the usual suspects Leighton Smith, Mike Hosking, Heather duPlessis Allan – “I’d also count Chris Trotter and Bomber Bradbury among our stable of shit-talkers, as well as other voices on the Left who seem to glory in stoking conflict.”.”

        I’m not mentioned. Not sure if I should see that as a ‘slight’ or not.

        However, left-wing commentators generally aren’t in the same category as the Hoskings and Leightons of this world. When we criticise (or condemn), it’s to point out injustice.

        Hoskings, Leighton, et al, promote the status quo establishment even at the expense of the powerless, poor, and disenfranchised.

        Trotter, Bradbury, et al, make you think about injustice.

        Hosking, Leighton, et Al, make you fearful about loss of privilege.

        • D'Esterre says:

          Frank Macskasy: “I’m not mentioned. Not sure if I should see that as a ‘slight’ or not.”

          Given that being mentioned by these turkeys is a badge of honour, I’d see it as a slight. Although you’re possibly covered by the statement “…other voices on the Left who seem to glory in stoking conflict.””

          But Drummond could at least do you the courtesy of naming you! The phrase “other voices” is just a bit dismissive, in my view.

          However. I think that you can take comfort in the fact that you’re always an eloquent and articulate commentator (even if I don’t always agree with you). Judging by Drummond’s efforts in that link above, I’m not sure that the same could be said of him.

          “Trotter, Bradbury, et al, make you think about injustice.

          Hosking, Leighton, et Al, make you fearful about loss of privilege.”

          I agree. And – being an old Lefty myself – I know which I prefer to read. However, I don’t see that as being a reason to ban or deplatform Hosking et al. They have as much right to express their opinions as have the rest of us who disagree with them. Better by far not to read them (my strategy), or, if people must read them, to mock them, or to counter their assertions with argument based on evidence. As always, what’s of moment is what people do, not what they say or think. Society can’t yet police thought. Thank god…

          I’ve characterised Brown, Drummond et al as “woke Left”. A family member disagrees: “woke Centrists who want political debate suppressed because it’s bad for the social harmony our wise rulers have created. In short, Joseph de Maistre with much less stringent sartorial standards.” Heh! I think said family member is right.

          Brown et al remind me of the Fabian socialists who were roundly criticised – and for the same reasons – by many academics when I was in the university system years ago.

  4. Mjolnir says:

    “This is for advice on one of the most important issues of our time, regulation of social media behemoths who have crowded the public town square with every variation of skinhead, white supremacist, anti-vaxx, and Infowar alt-right hate trolls.”

    So you would leave skinheads, white supremacists, anti-vaxxers, and Infowar alt-right hate trolls to have their platforms to foment more hate , ignorance and violence??

    “Public funding and a radical reshape of the obligations current media corporates have to fund public square broadcasting is the solution here, not banning Mike Hosking and forming panels with a very narrow view on free speech.”

    Sorry??

    How does public funding reduce the reach of skinheads, white supremacists, anti-vaxxers, and Infowar alt-right hate trolls to have their platforms to foment more hate , ignorance and violence on social media??

    Funny how we westerners jump at banning ISIS on social media but skinheads, white supremacists, anti-vaxxers, and Infowar alt-right hate trolls should have free reign in the sacred name of ” free speech”??

    If you allow skinheads, white supremacists, anti-vaxxers, and Infowar alt-right hate trolls to continue to have their platforms (often away from tge glare of public scrutiny) then dont be surprised at the consequences

    Sorry Martyn but free speech is never free

    Call me old fashioned byt i’d like to see *responsible* speech instead of free, unfettered hate speech

    In case you’ve missed the rise of the far right in Europe and the US Empire, we are at war for the soul of human civilisation

    Just as the Left is at war with the Neoliberal Corporate-State

    Ignore that and you get left behind

    • The Daily Blog Martyn says:

      Where did I say we should ignore legitimate hate speech? Where did I say we ignore the skinheads, the white supremacists, the climate deniers, the anti-vaxxers?

      • Mjolnir says:

        With much far right stuff happening behind closed cyber-walls, I suggest its not a matter of ignoring them, but we wont see them till its too late

        Remember that no one was looking at Tarrant and his online postings

        • Sam Sam says:

          I could write out a list of words specific to these guys you’re talking about but then we wouldn’t be able to spot them, and then it will make it more difficult to take there toys away.

        • Marc says:

          Some of those fellas would use the dark web anyway, that is a territory that is very hard to control anyway, so all kinds of controls that may be considered, they will most likely only chill and scare the ordinary folks like us, and those low level ‘offenders’, who would never actually do what the alleged Christchurch mass murderer did.

          Those that set out to do such things, they will not be stopped by anything that Jacinda and Macron and their meeting may propose and want implemented.

    • D'Esterre says:

      Mjolnir: “…. free speech is never free.”

      It’s very difficult to figure out what exactly you think free speech is. But it just means the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint.

      Free speech doesn’t exist if organised groups work to ensure that in practice nobody but themselves can exercise it, which looks to be what the woke Left – and the woke Centrists – are attempting to do at present.

      In this country, we don’t have the tradition of free speech in the same way as, for instance the US, where freedom of speech is protected by the Constitution.

      “….unfettered hate speech.”

      Again: please give us some examples of this hate speech which you evidently want banned.

  5. chruskl says:

    The make-up of this panel is perversely reminiscent of John Key’s flag selection panel. Business leaders, sportspeople, celebrities (all “high-calibre” people, we were assured), but not a single visual artist or anyone with any aesthetic criteria. Who needs expert opinion?

  6. ALH84001 says:

    If free speech rules, why does TDB have moderators?

    • Joe90 says:

      good question? If you publically support JT and electric cars your comments dont get published.

      • Sam Sam says:

        Free speech is not like moderating an online message board. There are advertising bots, meat puppets and sock puppets, conspiracy theorists, spell check bots, predictive text bots.

        It’s easy for these things to get away from people. Of those parameters are not managed and just left to run its self then TDB staff leave themselves wide open to a cascading logic failure that can cause real damage to reputation and income.

    • D'Esterre says:

      ALH84001: “If free speech rules, why does TDB have moderators?”

      Aside from the reasons that Sam adduces below, it’s because in this country, we don’t have freedom of speech in the same way as is the case in the US. Or in France, come to that; at least before the odious Macron came to power.

  7. DOC HORRORDAY says:

    see if you get this one intellectually, smart guy

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rk2iV_L67U

  8. DOC HORRORDAY says:

    bonus round spine tingler, recursive mask layers tutorial:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1uMXjbOyyw

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


 
Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog,