"Civil liberties advocates have lashed the New South Wales Labor government’s
attempts to stop climate activists from livestreaming protests on Facebook.
Members of Blockade Australia staged and streamed protests across the country
this week, including along a train line that services the Newcastle coal port.
The premier, Chris Minns, announced via the Daily Telegraph on Thursday that he
would request a meeting with the social media giant, alongside police, to see
what they can do to “stop the broadcast of illegal acts”.
“Their business model relies on social media to broadcast their protest,” he
said of the Blockade Australia protesters.
“These thrill demonstrators are putting lives at risk – both their own and
those of emergency service and police.
“I don’t want to see a situation where there’s a death broadcast on social
The opposition supported the idea, with leader and former attorney general,
Mark Speakman, saying it would help deprive the protesters of attention.
“We all have a right to protest, but other people have rights as well … all
those rights have to be balanced,” he said.
But independent crossbench MP Alex Greenwich said it was a “deeply concerning”
development, noting the importance of protest in democracies.
“I strongly oppose those protest laws that were rushed through the parliament
last year. Freedom to protest is such a fundamental right that we really need
to be protecting,” he said.
The chair of Digital Rights Watch, Lizzie O’Shea, said the comments were
something that she would “expect to hear from the People’s Republic of China,
not from a Labor NSW premier.
“People use live streaming for very important accountability scenarios or for
accountability measures, including, for example, filming violence by police all
around the world. And the idea that live streaming should be prohibited when it
comes to protest is profoundly anti-democratic,” she said."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics