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July 16, 2007 | by  | in News |
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Student media protest anti-satire rules with ‘Week of Shame’

Salient and other members of the Aotearoa Student Press Association (ASPA) are this week joining with the Parliamentary Press Gallery in speaking out against anti-satire rules recently imposed by Parliament.

Under the new rules, it is now illegal to make use of in-house footage which satirises or denigrates Members of Parliament, including both video and still images. The list of banned images includes Ron Mark’s infamous one-fingered salute, as well as seemingly infinite images of sleeping MPs.

ASPA Secretary Rory MacKinnon says the restrictions are “ridiculous in their premise, but terrifying in their implications.”

“Dr. Cullen has said MPs will interpret the rules liberally, which is to say that our leaders have pretty wide powers of discretion in deciding what is and isn’t satire. In the event that someone is convicted, the inevitable gag orders will ban the media from even reporting on the suppression of material.”

MacKinnon also says that student media are unlikely to adopt Cullen’s recommendation to ‘wait and see’.

“Student media has a long history of both satire and political activism. We have a legacy of going where commercial publications fear to tread, especially on issues of freedom of speech. I would be very surprised if our member publications rolled over without a fight.”

See page 32 for Salient’s Parliamentary salute.

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About the Author ()

With her take-no-prisoners, kick-ass attitude, former News Editor Laura McQuillan adequately makes up for her lack of stature. Roaming the corridors (and underground tunnels) of the University by day, and hunting vampires and Nazi war criminals by night, McQuillan will stop at nothing to bring you the freshest news.

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