Sunday, July 25, 2021
Times of Georgia
HomePoliticalChief Human Rights Commissioner Should Stay In His Lane

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Should Stay In His Lane

The Free Speech Union says that Chief Human Rights
Commissioner Paul Hunt wasn’t hired to tell artists what
work they can and can’t produce. He should start defending
human rights, not stand against freedom of

A spokesperson for the Union, Stephen
Franks says “The Commissioner calls for a proposed film of
the March 15th atrocity to be cancelled due to its potential
to upset members of the Muslim community. A petition to have
the production cancelled has garnered 70,000 signatures but
whether a film is made, or how it is made is absolutely none
of Paul Hunt’s business.”

“Both Prime Minister
Jacinda Ardern and National party leader Judith Collins
expressed their own reservations about the taste and timing
of the film, but both also said that it was not their place
to tell the filmmakers they should cancel the

“They were respecting freedom of speech.
Yet Hunt thinks he has the right to call for a piece of art
to be stopped.”

“Hunt is quoted as saying ‘As a
country, we have a responsibility to do all we can to ensure
that Muslim New Zealanders are represented accurately in
stories’. We have no such responsibility to effectively
police artworks. The opposite is true. Hunt wouldn’t even
know the script and intentions of the filmmakers. His stance
recalls members of the Evangelical Right who protested
outside screenings of Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Last
Temptation of Christ’ while proudly admitting they
hadn’t seen the film, had no intention of seeing the film,
yet still demanded that it be banned.”

“It is
telling that Hunt would release this statement, but when a
feminist group was banned from several council-run venues
only a week ago, an openly discriminatory and unlawful act
in clear breach of our bill of rights, his office was

“Hunt is perfectly entitled to the view
that a film representing the attacks is premature, has the
potential to upset victims, and that it should not be made.
But this is a personal view. I happen to share it. But in
his capacity as Chief Commissioner he should take care to
reinforce, not undermine freedom of expression. He’s a
disgrace to his office, acting in complete opposition to
what he is paid to

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