Hard News by Russell Brown


Copyright Abuse

The Standard seems to have really got under the skin of John Key's office -- so much so that it received a nastygram from Key's office, in the form of an email from Key's "web editor" Francis Till declaring: "You are displaying, without permission, a modified picture of John Key on your blog and in your petition drive. Please remove it."

The Standard is now wondering whether and from whom National got permission to use Helen Clark's picture on all those billboards, but that's not really the point. People on the public payroll should not use copyright to try and quell speech.

Meanwhle, the Exclusive Brethren just can't stay out of the news. It has been revealed that -- surprise! -- the Brethren lied about the source of funds for its massive pro-John Howard advertising campaign during the last election.

As it always does, the church leadership has insisted that the campaign was funded by private businesspeople. But ABC's Four Corners showed that the Brethren's parliamentary lobbyist paid $340,000 into the bank account of the front company, Willmac Enterprises. And the donations weren't declared. The church has responded by claiming, as usual, that " "being persecuted because of its beliefs".

A former Australian Family Court chief justice has accused the Brethren of "abusing" children by denying them access to their parents. And name suppression has been lifted in the Nelson sexual abuse case.

On a lighter note, Robyn has posted the clip of Charlie Brooker's excellent guide to TV news.

I've been meaning to mention last week's trip to Wellington, which kicked off with a night out with the Mint Chicks on Thursday night, who were very loud but awesome. I saw Roger Shepherd there, and he pointed out that they really were quite an extreme band to be attracting all those teenage girly fans.

The next morning I was up early for a Parliamentary breakfast to open to the Association of Community and Access Broadcasters conference, and -- pausing only to do half an hour's autism lobbying at the Beehive, an opportunity for which I was very grateful -- proceeded on to give a presentation at the conference itself. I talked about social media and how important the internet is to the boom in community radio in the US, and people seemed to enjoy it. The delegates were, without exception, delightful, so if I was of service to them I'm pleased.

I needed to zone out a bit after that, so I popped over to the City Gallery, where there's currently a wonderful McCahon triptych dedicated to Rua Kenana. If you haven't seen it, go and stand in front of it for a while. Thereafter, my darling arrived and after spending Friday night with friends, we drive up the coast to see my mum, coming back via the Dowse to view the Philip Treacy hats (I was bored, but, then, I am a boy …). Then my darling and I checked into our hotel (on our own! Woot!) and had dinner then a show; the show being the Joe Strummer documentary, The Future is Unwritten, which I loved. Yay.

Anyway … what if the editor of the Herald on Sunday was preparing to move on, and what if his prospective replacement was rumoured to be … Robyn Langwell?

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