The trouble with never giving offence is that we must be hugely respectful – even to Morris dancers

May 19, 2015

Alf was drawn today to an article by one Joanna Norris, chair of the New Zealand Media Freedom Committee and editor of the Press.

Her subject was freedom of expression and the things that threaten it.

She discussed freedom of expression in terms Alf thoroughly supports.

At its very simplest, freedom of expression gives people the right to express themselves in a manner of their choosing. Whether you want to write a letter to an editor, write a column, dance in a park, or even burn a flag, your freedom to express yourself is protected by law (unless your flag burning results in public disorder).

The Bill of Rights Act gives New Zealanders these rights. Specifically it says this: “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.” There are of course limits, for example your right to express yourself must not result in a crime, but generally our courts have erred towards freedom of expression when balancing competing principles.

But from time to time, Norris went on, issues arise that quietly threaten the rights of New Zealanders to express themselves.

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