Rules to Ruin: How Censorship Was Normalised

Caged Bird Censorship FI
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Censorship of NZDSOS

In November 2021, just as the mandates came down on health and education workers, NZDSOS arranged for a brief advertisement to be aired on Newstalk ZB to let people know about our organisation and our website.  New Zealanders were keen for information in addition to what was being promulgated from the ‘podium of truth’.  Many peoples’ intuition was alerting them to the fact that all was not as we were being told.

There was the expected to and fro between New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME)’s Sales and Marketing, the audio creatives and NZDSOS, to get the wording of the message right.  We were happy with the final 15 second version.  It was approved by NZME legal staff and was scheduled to go to air for 10 days.  However, it only broadcast for 1.5 days.

Then suddenly we were notified that the advertisement was being pulled.  The reasons were vague and sketchy.  Apparently NZME received some ‘complaints’ but they were not willing to provide us with any information about the complaints or who they were from. Did they come from the Ministry of Health, DPMC, MCNZ, Pfizer?

“For legal reasons NZME is not prepared to provide you with information about the complaints we have received about this advertising at this time.”

No doubt at least one of the complainants was the government, NZME’s much more generous advertiser (of the vaccines).

An advertising team member at NZME has stated that it was unprecedented to cut a campaign after it had been approved.  Someone obviously really did not want New Zealanders hearing what we had to say.

In addition, in the explanatory letter the following comment appeared: “The decision not to continue to publish these advertisements has been made due to a likelihood that this advertising breaches the Medicines Act 1981 and the Advertising Standards Authority Codes.”

That was odd.  Their lawyer had already approved the ad and had presumably verified that it complied with the regulations.  And we didn’t say a word about medicine.

The wording was as follows:

A group of Doctors in New Zealand have their own plan for Covid
You are free to find out more.
Search for NZ Doctors speaking out with science, NZDSOS
It’s your right to be informed.

This is just one example of the censorship we have faced trying to get our message to the public.

Listen to the censored ad here.

Read the full (non) explanatory email from NZME here.

And so, “for good reason” some would have argued, the right to free speech was eroded, and the cancelling and censorship of anyone the government deemed unworthy became normalised. No doubt, NZME executives were scared of upsetting the state and it’s narratives.

Was it a case of ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune‘?

Like the proverbial potted frog, many have not noticed the increasing temperature past the warmth of safety that it provided.  Unless the frogs jump now, we are on the way to becoming a totalitarian state.

Benjamin Franklin Censorship Quote
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  1. The former Fox presenter tweeted a video on Tuesday outlining his intention to pivot to social media, uploading an almost 3-minute clip with the caption: “We’re back.” His announcement proved to be divisive as viewers and commentators reacted to the news. And the clip had been viewed more than 68 million times, retweeted by more than 147,000 people, and garnered almost 630,000 ‘likes’ by Wednesday morning.

    Addressing the camera directly in his Twitter statement, Carlson said: “Amazingly, as of tonight, there aren’t many platforms left that allow free speech. The last big one remaining in the world, the only one, is Twitter where we are now.

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