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Date Posted: 02:46:19 08/12/04 Thu
Author: Asia Pacific
Subject: Cook Is initial comment on draft media bill

http://www.pmw.c2o.org/2004/cookis4476.html

kia ora na pmw,

please find attached copies of new draft legislation. some initial comments:

1. journalists in new zealand and australia have warned strongly against giving any kind of legislative powers over the news media.
2. government has previously tried to censor freedoms of speech, first with the 1995 media standards bill, which was dropped after a public petition, and a 1996 constitutional amendment to remove high court protections from permanent residents, also withdrawn (after pressure from the country's largest aid donor, new zealand).
3. government's track record of enforcement of existing laws is poor. for example, in december 2002, the director of environment services said there had only been three prosecutions in ten years. over the same time, the ministry of health, for another example, has not tabled an annual report with parliament, nor has it till today.
4. government's track record of consultation is good, but accountability poor. for example, the 1998 political review commission surveyed the public widely, but few of the good governance provisions, including a code of conduct, have been implemented. an environmental bill still contains provisions that have attracted wide opposition.

overall, government however should be commended for releasing the draft legislation for public comment. this is a process that should be followed for all legislation.

more soon, thanks

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