Courage is everything…Check out the outstanding Kapiti Independent News

The excellent Kapiti Independent News puts most other newspapers to shame. No wonder that most media are now so despised.

Without courage, what is left? And what has happened to us as a country that, as formerly happened in the USSR,  much-needed debate is now suppressed, and to speak the truth on important issues now takes an act of courage?

The Kapiti Independent News deserves to be acclaimed by all of us. It stands head and shoulders above our mainstream newspapers right across the country  – earning respect by its support of debate on the now damaging issues of racial preference and discrimination.This Kapiti newspaper’s support of the fine article by courageous Bud Codger brings to mind the phrase  – redeeming the times.  Congratulations to all involved. And don’t miss the below.

http://kapitiindependentnews.net.nz/racism-in-the-universities/#more-63053

Judging from my own experiences in relation to my local newspaper, I’d agree it’s no wonder that, in the public mind, it’s been established that the least-trusted group of individuals in any occupation are  journalists, “ranked below MPs, even, the second least trusted, and behind local council members, lawyers and civil servants, who are all below the half-way mark in a survey of public trust and confidence. ”

That’s no surprise to so many New Zealanders concerned about the directions in which this country is heading, but finding it almost impossible to be able to take part in that underpinning of democracy, public debate, using the forum of letters to the editor. I’m not alone in the long campaign I’ve been waging to challenge the Nelson Mail  in relation to its disgraceful practice of suppressing letters to the editor from well-respected commentators – if the opinions, even the facts that they express, obviously irritate the letters editor – or/and even the actual editor.

My persistent objection to the letters of one highly qualified commentator on treaty issues being ignored has at last seen his letters begin to appear – possibly because I included, in my recent complaint to the Press Council, the constant suppression of his excellent letters, and,  even of a well substantiated article pointing out that so-called facts invoked by two local activists  in relation to  Maori-related historical issues could indeed be challenged. Naturally, he was denied publication. Moreover, invited to give an address  to the Nelson Institute,  he found this recently cancelled, when the Institute, the Nelson City Council and the public library were asked to cancel his address – with the implied threat that there would be public disruption – possibly violence –  “a health and safety issue” – if he was allowed to speak. And I’m referring here to an excellent historian, respected in his field.

Tiring of the constant  suppression of my own letters, challenging left-wing, quite wrong or troubling “facts” presented in the Nelson Mail  (I would write no more than about four a year – given so  much already to juggle – and in particular where others had not highlighted an important issue) I finally submitted a complaint to the Press Council  about the Mail’s suppression of these.

My expectation of support from this body is pretty minimal. Our institutions all over the country are now largely dominated by the Politically Correct, and I recognize from my own time as an independent columnist and commentator on current affairs for the Dominion, and elsewhere, two or three familiar names on the Press Council.

However, one of the facts we need to take on board as individuals in this country, concerned about its very worrying directions, is that it is not good enough to fold up under pressure – or to simply be a pushover (in a friend’s words) – when confronted  by any form of bullying. On the contrary, it is important to make things as difficult as possible for those misusing positions of power.  And this is exactly what too many of today’s journalists are doing – pushing their markedly ” liberal” or radicalized points of view on the public – and then denying the opportunity for public debate.

It wasn’t always the case.  C. P. Scott, the long-standing editor of the Manchester Guardian, summed up the professional duty of a journalist, arguing that the “primary office” of a newspaper is accurate news reporting, saying “comment is free, but facts are sacred“.

Once, when journalism had a code of ethics, reporters would be pulled up short when their personal opinions took precedence over the facts. I recall some fine editors or features editors whom it was a pleasure to know. However, training journalists on an actual paper under the eye of experienced editors gave way to an utterly unnecessary three-year (and more) journalism courses where today’s often highly opinionated and self-regarding editors and reporters learned that their inculcated left-wing and  PC views were to be inflicted on the readers – and that they are free to push their too often half baked opinions – at the expense of the facts.

As usual the Nelson Mail is now holding back my letter in support of historian Bruce Moon.  I very much doubt if the editor has any intention of publishing it, and if this is the case, I will let readers judge for themselves by producing in this journal the letters which obviously offended the tender sense of susceptibilities of editorial staff.

Once more into the breach, dear friends …
©  Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available through my  BOOK Page at www.amybrooke.co.nz, or at Amazons Kindle.

 

Does Susan Devoy favour censorship by prosecution?

Does Susan Devoy favour censorship by prosecution? Apparently so – with her suggestion of involving the police to charge those she fancies have committed “hate speech”.

While in every society  there are undoubtedly individuals whose form of expression is extreme, unfair, or thoroughly objectionable, there is very good reason why we have not in the past moved towards a more totalitarian society –  by removing the right to free speech.

What our Race Relations Conciliator does not seem able to take on board is the fact that  New Zealand can no longer claim to be a free society if she achieves her apparent wish – to have individuals charged with the crime of using speech she and others may find offensive.

This is a horrifically dangerous move for any government to embark upon – a new form of censorship which would have been completely unthinkable to our parents and grandparents. Only in times of war,  when loose tongues could cost lives, has any Western society risked the damage done to one of the most important of human freedoms – people’s very basic rights to speak the truth as they see it.

But there is no doubt now that individuals are under threat today, even vilified, or virulently attacked for speaking the truth as they see this – for pointing out the growing dangers threatening our society.  The form of Muslim extremism, for example, sweeping across Europe, tolerates no opposition, the least form of which is name-calling and disparaging its opponents – those with the courage still to try to warn about what is actually happening to this now troubled continent.

 It has always been recognised that whether individual opinions are considered right or wrong – an open society is the only one compatible with Western freedoms – and the underpinning of democracy. Open debate and free comment are the best remedies to counter extremism. And we should be questioning why, if Devoy has any real knowledge of what happened to those societies in the 20th century (and today) in which the climate of intimidation allowed dictatorships to flourish, she has not taken the lessons on board.

It’s happening again. From one of the best informed website journals, The Gatestone Institute, comes this reminder of what happens when the State begins to censor speech. It contains a reminder by Spiked Online editor, Brendan O’Neill, that “politically correct speech does not need protecting. The United States first Amendment exists precisely to protect the minority from the majority – and to protect unpopular opinions from those who would silence them.”  https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12008/france-le-pen-free-speech#.WrNlggLKBas.gmail

There seems little doubt that Susan Devoy, with her aim of having suppressed speech or opinions which she finds unpalatable, thinks these should be silenced.

 This is not only an aim incompatible with democratic freedoms – (regardless of the creeping activism we have seen for some time, in relation to even our court decisions). It flies in the face of that most important reminder from The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

Article 19.

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

We have already in this country seen the rise of bullying and name-calling whereby radical activism uses the tactics of badmouthing thoughtful critics by targeting them as racist, or homophobic, for example. As it works by silencing all too many worried about the repercussions ensuing from standing up for their beliefs, we have started on the first step of a very slippery slope.

Ms Devoy arguably needs to think much more deeply of the consequences of her wish to involve the police to target individuals whose utterances she disapproves of. This will undoubtedly take us even further down the road of a virtual Police State that some maintain, with reason, we are already embarked upon.

©  Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available through www.amybrooke.co.nz, Kindle, or HATM Publishers.