23 May 2007

New Zealand bloggers says offer is based on importance of freedom of speech

9:06 am on 23 May 2007

The offer to help bloggers in Fiji remains open by members of New Zealand's blog community despite the military now saying it would stop hunting for the anonymous contributors to anti-military websites.

A spokesperson for New Zealand bloggers, Dr David Haywood, says they could either host articles by bloggers or host the blogsites themselves to prevent the Fiji military tracking people down and shutting down the sites.

He says the sort of treatment they've meted out to those who cross them is worrying for anybody concerned about human rights and freedom of speech.

Dr Haywood says the blogsites are very important because the mainstream media is having to exercise self-censorship.

"Because everyone's so worried about the journalists being arrested and suffering ill-treatment, there is a lot of self-censorship going on. You know, they don't necessarily have to put somebody in the offices of the press to check every article, they just have to make everyone frightened enough. But, with the bloggers, because it can be anonymous and because it's very, very hard to track down, that doesn't open another window of communication which is very important."

Dr David Haywood.