24 Jul 2014

Tribunal reserves decision on cartoons

7:26 pm on 24 July 2014

A Human Rights Review Tribunal Hearing has heard that a complaint about two cartoons should be dismissed to ensure freedom of expression is not unreasonably restricted.

Manurewa MP Louisa Wall took a formal complaint to the Tribunal, against Fairfax over cartoons by Al Nisbet which were published in two newspapers last May.

One of the cartoons shows some characters with Polynesian features, showing a family taking advantage of the food in schools programme, the other has a similar message.

In closing, Ms Wall's Lawyer, Prue Kapua, said there has been a lot of evidence showing the cartoons brought Maori and Pasifika people into contempt, and said Fairfax had no credible evidence to counter that evidence.

She said if the complaint was dismissed it would give the media an unfettered right to publish any material without regard to the consequences of the law.

However, Fairfax lawyer Robert Stewart said dismissing the complaint was the only way to ensure freedom of expression.

He said in doing so, it would not in any way impinge on the interests of Maori and Pacific people to pursue their right to be free from discrimination.

The Tribunal has reserved its decision.