Thursday, April 02, 2015

'Planet Key'song ruled legal, Electoral Commission in doghouse

Back in August last year in the run up to the election campaign, Wellington musician Darren Watson released a song on August 4th via iTunes titled Planet Key, poking fun at our Prime Minister, and then the Electoral Commission clamped down on him, saying radio stations who were playing it, such as Radio Active, were breaching electoral law. They forced Watson to remove it from sale. 

He then decided to challenge the Electoral Commission's decision to limit right to his creative expression, and today the High Court found in his favour. See below:



The High Court has today delivered its judgment on the challenge brought by the makers of the satirical song and video “Planet Key” against the Electoral Commission’s opinion that the song and video were "election advertisements" under the Electoral Act and "election programmes" under the Broadcasting Act.

In a 76 page judgment, Justice Denis Clifford ruled comprehensively in favour of Watson and Jones. Significantly, he held that the Electoral Commission’s interpretation of the legislation “would impose limits on the right of freedom of expression of the plaintiffs and New Zealand citizens more generally in a manner which… cannot be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

Darren Watson and Jeremy Jones say they are delighted with the ruling, saying that it vindicates completely their sense of grievance about Commission’s advice that Planet Key could not be lawfully broadcast, sold through i-Tunes, or posted on the internet.

Watson and Jones’ lawyers say that the case upholds freedom of speech and protects the rights of artists to express their personal political views.

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