Jan 9, 2008

Herald On The Enforcement Of The EFA

The NZ Herald devotes its editorial today to the Electoral Commission's forst moves to enforce the Electoral Finance Act 2007. The editorial ends with a focuss on the implications of the Act for bloggers:

But it is on the web, a new frontier of attempted regulation, that Labour's red tape will be most resented. The act's restrictions on election material expressly exempts "the publication by an individual, on a non-commercial basis, on the internet of his or her personal political views ... "
Bloggers might have little difficulty fitting that definition but they will need to be aware that should their site acquire more than one author or, heaven forbid, make some money in some way from their political observations, the speech patrol could be down on them.
It is outrageous that they even need to concern themselves with such rules. When people come to wonder what has happened to a freedom they once took for granted, the answer is seldom a single, memorable edict. It is more often a hundred trifling rules, requirements and restrictions, each defensible within the logic of the law but together oppressive in their effect.
Fortunately the Government's attempt to monitor political expression will not long outlast its lease on power. But if the commission continues as it has started, the spectacle will be ridiculous.