InternetNZ misses e-censorship inquiry

Barring special arrangement with Parliament, InternetNZ has missed out on an opportunity to make a submission for a select committee inquiry on reform of the censorship laws - an inquiry that makes specific reference to the internet.

Barring special arrangement with Parliament, InternetNZ has missed out on an opportunity to make a submission for a select committee inquiry on reform of the censorship laws — an inquiry that makes specific reference to the internet.

The first of the government administration select committee’s terms of reference instructs it to inquire into “the capacity of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 to deal with the impact of new technology on the classification process set out in the act, in particular, the impact of the internet on the classification process, including the transmission of live performances and related activities.”

“Our social impact committee should have submitted a comment, for sure,” says that committee’s head, Professor Howard Frederick of Unitec. But InternetNZ’s council was unaware that the inquiry was going on, until Computerworld sought comment from the organisation late last month, well past the closing date for written submissions.

A spokeswoman for select committee head, list Labour MP Dianne Yates, has told Computerworld that no minutes of the hearing of oral submissions on the matter exist.

“If you wanted to hear what was said, you’d have to have been at the meetings.”

Frederick says he has referred Computerworld’s note to him of the proceedings to the InternetNZ legal committee for comment on whether the organisation can find a way of getting some input into the inquiry.

The anomaly of live performance or “streaming” video over the internet [continuous transmission, so no complete “publication” exists in New Zealand], was pointed out by Computerworld earlier this year. These fall between the stools of the FV&PC Act and the Broadcasting Act.

The select committee is also considering the relation between the FV&PC Act and the Bill of Rights and matters of the act’s administration.

The committee’s report will be presented towards the end of the government’s term, later this year, says Yates’s representative.

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