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MLAs must not censor discussion on social media

MLAs must not censor discussion on social media

Members should be reasonably accessible to the people of the electorate they have been elected to serve, and should represent their interests conscientiously.
Members should be transparent in, and accountable for, their decisions and actions and should submit themselves to appropriate scrutiny.

– Code of conduct for all members of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory

Have you ever been blocked on social media? What about by your elected representatives on their official channels? It is becoming more common for our politicians to delete comments and block users who disagree with them, confining themselves to an echo chamber where they cannot represent all those who they have been elected to serve.

Social media is the modern equivalent of writing a letter, or making a phone call, or visiting someone in person. It is a mainstream communications channel. You would not accept an MLA hanging up the phone or closing the door on you simply for disagreeing with them. Social media must be no different.

This behaviour is covered by the Code of Conduct for Members of the Legislative Assembly. I will demand a change to the Code of Conduct to forbid any MLA from unnecessarily censoring people on social media.

This is a two way street. Discussion and debate from the public must not contain hate speech or vulgarity. Trolling, spam, and abuse need not be tolerated.

Actions

  • Prevent MLAs from blocking constituents on any communications platform.
  • Prevent MLAs from deleting comments made by constituents on any communications platform.
  • Have all MLAs unblock any constituents currently blocked on any communications platform.
  • Allow an MLA an avenue to delete comments that are abusive, trolling, spam, etc.

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