NRT: TPPA would criminalise journalism

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, October 18th, 2014 - 15 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, journalism - Tags: , , ,

From I/S at No Right Turn

TPPA would criminalise journalism

Wikileaks leaked the latest version of the TPPA intellectual property chapter last night. There’s some nasty surprises from the US, including its efforts to revive the defunct Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement by the backdoor and its efforts to ensure poor countries fighting, say, ebola can’t violate patents to save lives and prevent an epidemic (because in American eyes, the profits of big pharmaceutical companies come before human lives). But there’s another nasty sting: the TPPA would criminalise investigative journalism:

The draft text provides that TPP countries will introduce criminal penalties for unauthorised access to, misappropriation or disclosure of trade secrets, defined as information that has commercial value because it is secret, by any person using a computer system.

TPP countries may criminalise all such disclosures or, if they wish, limit criminal penalties to cases that involve “commercial advantage or financial gain”; are directed by or benefit “a foreign economic entity”; or are “detrimental to a [TPP] party’s economic interests, international relations, or national defence or national security.”

There are no public interest or free speech exemptions. Criminalisation of disclosure would apply to journalists working for commercial media organisations or wherever the leak was considered harmful to the “economic interests” of any TPP country.

Unmentioned: it also criminalises leaks which are detrimental to a party’s international relations or international security. So, the US is trying to US the TPPA as a backdoor to silence WikiLeaks, the Snowden files, and the entire enterprise of journalistic criticism of power.

The TPPA was bad enough when it was merely a secret deal being negotiated against our interests. But now its actively anti-democratic as well. Which I think shows us the danger of allowing our governments to negotiate such deals in secret: because we may find out at the end of it that they’ve signed away our democracy.

15 comments on “NRT: TPPA would criminalise journalism”

  1. But conspiring against their own populations? Never! Our governments would not do that ever! They love us and have our interests at heart!

  2. adam 2

    We lived in a better world, when the elites lived in dread of working people.

    The corporations feel immune to the people. Their elects have produced in the political sphere, everything they desire.

    Fear is the mind killer, and fear is what working people are fed everyday. Working people need to turn that around, and make our so called leaders fear every day.

  3. Adam, the elites still live in dread of working people.
    This is because their capitalist system is about to implode with mountains of debt and climate collapse.
    And the elites know that the vast majority of working people are not going to take this lying down.
    Actually it is the US ruling class and all its crony capitalist states like NZ who have most to fear.
    But these days they call that fear ‘terror’.
    They project that terror onto anyone and everyone who causes them terror.
    They hide their class rule behind their secrets and claim the defence of the ‘national interest’.
    But whistleblowers, most recently wikileaks, Manning, and Snowden exposed such secrets as lies and became heroes for working people.
    The legitimacy of the ruling class state has been blown.
    The internet makes it possible for working people to become their own investigative journalists.
    Hence all freedom of speech has to be suppressed especially the freedom of the internet.
    But to do that people have to be caught and punished.
    In the war between fracking and hacking, hacking will win.
    They know this and are now paranoid and see terror everywhere.
    That is why in the US the cops have been turned into a domestic army and shoot anything that looks or smells like terror.
    So in St Louis a kid cops 16 bullets for holding a sandwich. In Colorado a kid gets shot in the back in a cop home invasion.
    The TPPA turns us all into part of the US and ramps up the paranoia.
    When the global economy tanks again in the coming months expect manufactured beheadings everywhere.
    Also expect battalions of militant workers like the Syrian fighters against Assad and the Kurd defenders of Kobani to stand up against capitalist terror.

    • I also loved your bedtime story about Labour!

    • adam 3.2

      If the elites really feared working people, do you think they would sell state houses out from under them?

      If the elites really feared working people, do you think we’d run off into a war we can not win?

      If the elites really feared working people, do you think they’d they could get this TPP passed?

      No the elites and the corporations don’t give a rat’s ass, they have the population duped into an endless cycle of propaganda and fear. Marx said religion was the opium of the people – imagine what he would have said about TV and Video Games. This is not a totalitarian state most would recognise, because of the silk glove of enthrallment.

      • Aaron 3.2.1

        You answered your own questions, the proof they fear working people (and most people in reality) in the amount of money spent on the propaganda. They certainly don’t care about us but they do fear us.

        The other reason they fear us is because if they were in our position (with their greed and lack of ethics) they wouldn’t hesitate to go for the throat of those above them.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          No they wouldn’t: they’re followers whose fear of wolves makes them terrified of dogs. It’s the fear that keeps them in line.

  4. Marksman33 4

    Well Dave, you hit the nail on the head ,shame the average Kiwi is more interested in how the All Blacks go. Small penis complex anybody ?

  5. greywarshark 5

    I put this on Open Mike but it is more relevant to this thread. I have shortened it a little. But it indicates the attitude that waits and watches to limit discussion and disclosure of details that should be part of the democratic discussion.

    For those interested in our radionz and public broadcasting and the eternal criticism of any thorough critique as being left leaning here is a piece from Karl du Fresne from last year.

    Public broadcasting organisations, by their very nature, tend to be Left-leaning.
    Australia’s ABC is perpetually under fire for partisan reporting and the prevalence of Left-wing views in current affairs programmes; Britain’s illustrious BBC only slightly less so.

    It’s not hard to understand how this comes about. Journalists distrustful of capitalism naturally gravitate toward state-owned media organisations, seeing them as untainted by the profit motive.
    This becomes self-perpetuating, since the more Left-leaning an organisation becomes, the more it attracts other people of the same persuasion….

    Rose appears to be on a lifelong mission to convince people that there are humane alternatives to nasty, heartless capitalism. He’s perfectly entitled to believe that, of course, but he has no right to co-opt the resources of RNZ to pursue his fixation. It’s an abuse of power to use a taxpayer-funded medium to promote pet ideological causes….

    An editor-in-chief who was doing his job properly would crack down on such abuses, for two reasons. The first and most important is that they breach RNZ’s duty to the public to present information fairly and impartially. The second, more pragmatic, reason is that the Left-wing bias apparent in some of RNZ’s programmes is hardly likely to endear the organisation to the politicians who control its fate. In saying this, I’m not suggesting for a moment that RNZ should become a tame government puppet. That would be far worse than the status quo.

    But we all have an interest in Radio New Zealand surviving, and a genuinely independent, non-partisan RNZ will be in a far stronger position to defend itself than one that consistently leaves itself exposed to allegations of bias.

    • Aaron 5.1

      We need to stop using left and right to think about this. A better continuum to talk about broadcasting (and politics) is a continuum that has Corporate interests at one end and the interests of human beings at the other (or perhaps the interests of ‘community’ is a better way of putting the opposite end).

      This is a more accurate representation of the world we live in and if it’s used as a model for the media then it becomes apparent that the only possible bias is corporate bias (or anti-community bias). Perhaps there were genuine left and right wings in the past but we have to avoid being trapped in this mythical system that sees a watered down version of corporate dominance as being the middle ground.

      Basically the so called middle ground is actually halfway down the road to hell – and that’s where most of our mainstream journalist sit, as close as possible to the halfway point on the road to hell.

      The reality is that any journalist doing their job properly in this day and age is going to come across as left wing because most of the corruption in the world is being perpetrated by those who are nominally on the right (but would more accurately be described being pro-corporate).

    • Marksman33 5.2

      Yes Greywarshark I had a brief clash with Karl du Fresne on his blog over this article ( or one very similar ) last year or the year before. I informed him that as far as I was concerned his wine selection was good but his view of RNZ was crap and that he seemed more than happy to take their money on a regular basis while being so scathing on his blog. He and other contributors then proceeded to tell me that their taxes had no right to be used as leftwing propaganda and that I obviously was the quintessential Radio NZ listener (what ever that means ).
      Funnily enough, after his wine section was canned he popped up one time on the Panel and God he was pathetic, desperately trying to ingratiate himself to Mora, to no avail thankfully, as he hasn’t been used since. The man’s a clown.

  6. One Anonymous Bloke 6

    The People’s Central Committee Covering The Centre.

    Stupid authoritarians* think you can kill commentary 😆

    *is there any other sort?

    • greywarshark 6.1

      Strange. but true. Bit like yek criticising Labour before the election saying when they raised a question, that they were being ‘political’. Odd in itself and also the use of the word as if it was something shameful, yet it’s the correct name for what he is every minute.

  7. Jrobin 7

    Interesting to read the latest article on The Intercept about Nicky Hager. Thought provoking about possible motivations other than “rawshark hunting” for trawling through Nicky’s work. This combination of Brave New World-like tranquilliser/propaganda with the strict censorship and scaremongering of Franco’s Spain is beginning to look genuinely authoritarian. No hyperbole needed! Friends from Romania and East Germany are recognising some worrying trends that we naive kiwis should be very worried about. Now is probably the time to stop this downward spiral, but how to wake up the sleeping majority is a real dilemma as the non-politician and the gaming/alcohol/pornograpy/consumerist/student loans/sugar/oil/pesticide lobbyists are doing a superb job of keeping most citizens unhealthy and consciously unaware they are being duped, but also subconsciously deeply afraid and isolated.
    Perhaps a solid well organised and reassuring Opposition is a good place to start. Forget Capital Gains Tax Labour Party and start working for active democratic rights and responsibilities. Good places to start for Opposition MPs: the Official Information Act, Public Broadcasting, Education, the TPPA, Employment laws, low cost Housing. Good places for us as ordinary workers: collective action, blogs (thanks lprent), community gardens, local food movements, supporting the remaining Unions, Arts, sustainable energy and household practices, open universities, etc etc. Keeping happy and being kind and supporting each other is important too. Stop attacking each other Labour Party and do the work we elected you to do. There are alternatives. This is not unstoppable.

    • greywarshark 7.1

      Jrobin 9.01 am
      I vote this ‘most invigorating comment’ for the day…week! Happy by Pharrell Williams (the official version) should be played regularly, once a day, to reinforce it. And I am not being sarc, we do need to keep the feeling of happiness near the surface and bring it out regularly.

      Or be smothered by the news of ebola and the WHO being run down just when we need its services, and the fact that this disease has been known about for decades and how little, if any money has been thrown at it for research and methods of control etc.

      That sort of thing can blow your mind. Someone needs to keep their brain active amongst the sheeples, the criminals and their fellow travellers (the fleas), and the jailed and severely compromised whistleblowers and ethically-minded.

      And when a long comment is being traversed, and you are approaching an intersection of thoughts, please indicate with a tap on the enter button. So quick, so easy, and so much easier for others to understand your direction! Drive carefully there.

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