Broadcasters set to defy anti-satire decree


Legislators have decided that they'd rather not see themselves made fun of on television and have banned the use of video footage for the purposes of satire. Before you call the Supreme Court, please understand that these outrageous new "sessional orders" were passed in New Zealand, and broadcasters there have already promised to defy it. According the local Independent News' "Scoop," TVNZ, TV3, Maori Television and Sky News see the ban as the first step toward the government trampling over the right of the people to see their Parliament in action, and are going to "…ignore the anti-democratic parts of Parliament's rules."

A TVNZ spokesman said that New Zealanders have a right to see MPs (members of Parliament) in action "warts and all," and that political satire is an age old journalistic technique which the media was not going to dispense with. A spokesperson for Maori Television said, "The onus is on the MPs to ensure their behaviour reflects the respect and authority they believe is due them, not in denial of the media's portrayal of their performance in the House."

SmartMedia observation: Few things are more eye-opening than tuning in to a program like "The Daily Show" and seeing the same politician say one thing one day and it's opposite the next. Indeed, it is often so eye-opening that it is a wonder the technique is not used more often in actual rather than fake news programs. The simple fact is that much of what our elected officials happens far away from an open mic or active camera. It's a good thing that they have to emerge from the back rooms from time to time and go on the record – the permanent record. We have no idea what the legal system in New Zealand will do with these "sessional orders," but we would hope that over here, such a decree would be shot down before the ink can dry on it. And while we're at it, what makes the courts so special? We should have cameras and mics in the Supreme Court so we can watch them shoot it down.