from the please-do-not-mock-us,-say-eminently-mockable-gov't-figures dept
It’s 2018 and governments we assume to be enlightened guardians of civil liberties are still doing authoritarian things like turning journalists over to “ethics” committees for illegal tweets. Unbelievably, the Queensland (AU) Parliament restricts use of footage of its assemblies, forbidding anyone from using recordings for “satire, ridicule, or commercial sponsorship.” Certainly we can see some reasons to potentially restrict promotional use of government footage for commercial sponsorship, but is anything more worthy of satire and ridicule than politicians? I submit to you that there is not. And this move by the Parliament is only going to encourage further satire and ridicule.
Last month, advertising consultant Dee Madigan commented with a retweet of a video snippet of parliamentary footage showing Mr Bleijie tearing up sheets of paper.
Her retweet included the comment: “Your taxes at work. A toddler tantrum for @JarrodBleijieMP.”
Ms Madigan refused to delete the retweet, despite repeated requests from the Opposition, the Clerk of Parliament and the Speaker’s office.
As a result, Ms Madigan has been referred to Parliament’s ethics committee.
Here’s the tweet that’s resulted in a Parliamentary ethics committee inquiry.
— Dee Madigan (@deemadigan) May 10, 2018
MP Jarrod Bleijie swiftly dispelled any notions he behaves like a toddler by writing the Speaker and demanding something be done about this public mockery. The end result could be reprimand or fine for Madigan because she did something people do all the time (mock government officials). Non-toddler MP Bleijie and the ethics committee that didn’t laugh his request right out of its office are going to ensure Queensland residents know just how serious Parliament’s stupid broadcast rules really are.
Everything about this — from the Parliament’s restrictions on footage use to MP Bleijie’s reaction — is ridiculous. But so is ABC News’ reporting, which inexplicably claims it can’t republish Madigan’s tweet.
[S]tate Parliament’s terms and conditions stipulate that broadcast material “must only be used for the purposes of fair and accurate reports of proceedings” and must not be used for political advertising, satire or ridicule and commercial sponsorship.
To avoid breaching those same rules, the ABC cannot republish the tweet — sorry about that.
You idiots. Embedding the mocking tweet wouldn’t make ABC complicit in the forbidden act of mocking Parliament with its own recordings. The republication of the tweet would clearly fall under the “fair and accurate report” protection. ABC’s assertion isn’t just inaccurate, it’s cowardly. If anything was to come of ABC’s republication, it would only increase the amount of scorn aimed at MP Bleijie, Parliament’s ethics committee, and the asinine restrictions Parliament places on the publication of footage. It would not harm ABC in the least and yet here we are watching a journalistic agency become an unofficial partner in the government’s
outreach overreach program.