Monday, December 14, 2015

Canberra Liberals censoring discussion of public issues

Canberra Liberals and Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson once told ACT Light Rail Chair Damien Haas that no one had ever said to him they wanted light rail. I guess if you choose not to listen, then you wont hear what people say.

Several members of ACT Light Rail have reported that comments relating to light rail they had left on several Canberra Liberal facebook pages, including Jeremy Hansons had been deleted, and that they had been blocked from leaving further comments. 

Today ACT Light Rail Chair Damien Haas responded to a post on Jeremy Hansons facebook page relating to a misleading photoshopped image of Northbourne Avenue that had been supplied in a press release to the Canberra Times. The comment was deleted and Mr Haas blocked from making further comments on Jeremy Hansons facebook page.

Comment deleted, person blocked. 

Aware that this censorship was occurring to other people, Mr Haas took a screenshot after leaving his comment on Jeremy Hansons facebook page on 12 December. Several minutes later, the comment was deleted and Mr Haas discovered he had been blocked from making further comments.

It is true that people on the 'Light Rail for Canberra' facebook page making offensive comments have been removed, along with their comments. Debate is intended to remain focussed on policy not people. Potentially defamatory comments are also removed.

Several Canberra Liberals are members of ACT Light Rail. Some are pro-light rail, yet opposed to Capital Metro Stage One for various reasons. None have been blocked from commenting on items in the Light Rail for Canberra facebook page. Comments they have made have been debated, not deleted. They have been engaged with, not erased.

Is this is the future of public debate in Canberra? Policy formed in a vacuum of awareness because you are deaf to other views and ideas? Actively censoring people that debate with you so that on your facebook page only a narrative of opposition to progress exists? It is actually very sad. It is also an interesting window into the mind of those that seek to govern us.

For more frequent updates on Capital Metro and light rail related news, please visit our Facebook page 'Light Rail for Canberra'. 

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