Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Clive Bibby: A real and serious threat to our democracy.

A recent piece by my good friend Karl du Fresne, published on this blog, talked about the need for anonymity for some folk expressing views that may be considered controversial by people who have power over employment opportunities.

As usual it was a well written commentary by someone who is regarded by his enemies as being untouchable given he has earned a reputation for accuracy and well researched investigative journalism but it was also a sobering account of the state “free expression in New Zealand.

Unfortunately, there are few other individuals still writing opinion pieces in this country who command the respect that allows them to say what they like and we, as a nation of highly interested bystanders, are the worse for it.

However, for a relative novice writer like myself, trying to understand why this is so, it isn’t hard to establish who controls the narrative and whether individuals should be concerned about their ability to engage in free speech even in a minor capacity.

Karl refers to those writers who are genuinely worried that comments they may express under a pseudonym could threaten their livelihood if printed under their real name.

We are indebted to him for telling it like it is, even though he is in a position where he is unafraid to do so.

Unfortunately, the MSM in Godzone, with only a few exceptions, only allow free expression of views that do not have consequences either via retaliation from Government or other influential pressure groups who support the government version of the truth. The censorship of submissions to editors has made it difficult to put the alternative view in journals at even the local level.

In other words - It is the old story of “free speech for me, but not for thee”

It is obvious to anyone trying to objectively assess the true state of “freedom of expression” in this country that the media, or those in control of the information distribution are, for the most part, happily engaged in parroting the party line.

Not all the evidence of this is blatantly obvious but more often not too subtle injections of indoctrination designed to result in a public more sympathetic to the views our leaders want us to adopt. Eg. Notice only one of the weekend weather presenters spends a great deal of her time in front of the cameras referring to Reo “place names” as a major part of her presentation. l’m not objecting to an apparent need for us all to understand one of our less used official languages but l do wonder why we have not been asked if this is the right way to achieve that greater understanding.

Alarmingly, this slow creep is becoming a flood as the Government flails around, desperate for something that will rescue it from the backlash that is coming at the next general election.

It is perhaps ironic that government attempts to impose its will on the citizens of this country, aided and abetted by a compliant or even sycophantic media, will be the main reason for its downfall.

Hopefully, if that happens, we will be able to return to an environment where individuals can respond to measures that are in fact human rights abuses without worrying if their families will suffer the consequences.

I’m too old to worry about that happening to me and will carry on making my small contribution to the common cause as long as l am cognitively able to do so but l am concerned that too many of my colleagues will be intimidated out of the business if continuing under duress becomes too hard.

We must not allow that to happen.

Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.


DeeM said...

And good on Karl for reversing his decision to not publish anonymous comments.

However, it struck me as very surprising that someone in his position, who has been blogging for as long as this government has been in power, seemed oblivious to the threat of saying the "wrong thing", in terms of losing your job and reputation and all that goes with it.
That's what many of the commenters found hard to fathom. But that is the benefit of free and open feedback, I guess, in that Karl now feels better informed on the feelings of many regarding the terrible state freedom of opinion and debate have reached in NZ.

If you stop listening to your critics, or worse ban them from speaking out, you are destined to make far serious errors.
That's our current government all over.

Unknown said...

Dear Clive Bibby.

This Comment is just as "powerful" as the one written & published by Karl du Fresne.
I am aware that supplementary comments, are posted at the discretion of people like yourself.

But I add a cautionary note, that I see the "page is managed by Goggle and one has to wonder "how much censoring occurs via their monitoring"?
When you post a comment, Goggle are in a position to identify who/whom/where etc, even if you use the word "Anonymous".

If you use YouTube (YT) and post a comment under any "posted video presentation", it can be and is monitored by YT and is "censored - by either crossing out data written, deleting same, or removing posted comment if it dos not meet Their Community Standards (or as I believe their Political stance) - and Yes "been there done that". Even if you establish a pseudonym, to post a comment under, YT still know - who you are/where etc.

Look at any Covid Videos that appeared on YT - the attached message that appeared with that video (regarding NZ covid information) and I know of "censoring on posted comments" - who directed that?

Remember the words - "We are/will be the one source of truth.."

One question I have always asked (no one seems to provide an answer) - is that Jacinda Ardern visited America, particularly California- and "it is touted visited the Media Potentates -Goggle, YT, MS - to what end and why"?

As both you & Karl have indicated, that those who wish to post anon, have stated reasons for doing so - this is not only applicable in NZ, but also in many other Countries as well - Welcome to the New age of being able to have either - Free & Open verbal Speech and/or to have Commentary via the Written Word.

I wonder what Shakespeare would say?

I am Anon, of the Land of New Zealand.

Phil said...

Karl recently said in NZ 'frightened conservatives are hiding in fox holes'. He also said if conservatives don't speak up for their believes no one else will. Personally I didn't think a lot about my beliefs until this radicalism emerged a couple of years ago. Most of us are busy with work and family so are still working out where to from here.

Anonymous said...

I had in -laws from hell whose main aim was to put me in a mental hospital because they didn't like my christian world view.That was something that was done to dissidents in previous eras .
Now you don't have to be very much out of step with the MSM narrative at all to have all manner of offensive adjectives applied to your character and made to feel psychotic. Selfish for not getting vaxxed, backward and a science denier for not believing in emergency global warming, hateful if you don't support changes to free speech and of course transphobic if you support women's rights.
I too wondered how Karl manages to stay untouchable.Being scrupulously truthful and importantly highly articulate is helpful I would think.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I have posted my last post.