4th Estate vs Government Propaganda: Protest as a Form of Civil Function

Herald Columnist confuses the role of protest


Dildogate, marches down Queen Street, blocking motorway entrances into the City Centre. There have been protests over the last week as the TPPA was signed at Sky City on Thursday. Now I am not here to discuss the points of the TPPA but what I am looking at is the protest as a part of civil duty in a functioning democracy such as ours.


See despite a small incident near the Northern Motorway entrances at the Cook Street end of the City Centre the large protest (and subsequently Joyce getting a Dildo thrown at him at Waitangi) we saw in Auckland City Centre was vocal but civil. The police reported no arrests and we certainly didn’t have the riots Matthew Hooton went frothing at the mouth with in the preceding week. But what we do have in the Herald this morning is an issue with the Fourth Estate. That is the Main Stream Media is the “watchdog” of the State Apparatus which includes the Government, Parliament and Courts.

This column here: Heather du Plessis-Allan: An infuriating protest (du Plessis-Allan also fronts TV3’s Story weeknights with Duncan Garner) I question whether it is in the spirit of the Fourth Estate or nothing more than pure Government Propaganda. Because it seems to me du Plessis-Allan is minimising to the point of demonising the role of the protest in a functioning civil society.


Those poo-pooing the protest because it caused disruption in the City Centre through the blocking of motorway entrances miss the ultimate point of a protest. Protests are meant to be disruptive that is the entire point. You are disrupting the status-quo often because all other means prior (submissions, voting, public meetings and so on) have failed. We should consider ourselves lucky we can protest freely without fear of retaliation by a coercive State machine seen in other countries (note: I do not condone wanton damage or threatening safety of others from protests including fire bombing a Minister’s Office). The sight of some 25,000 people protesting in the City Centre should be one to respect with awe even if you disagree with why they are protesting (remember we are a democracy).


So du Plessis-Allan I do wonder if you are confusing your role between being the Fourth Estate or a wing of Pro-Government propaganda. Because your column suggests that confusion and the confusion of the function of the protest to which ultimately I would say you have no role in the Fourth Estate itself if you can’t distinguish those differences.

Ironically blocking the motorway entrances also demonstrated that once the City Rail Link goes live we can very easily go car-free in the City Centre as well (people found that aspect quite novel)!


3 thoughts on “4th Estate vs Government Propaganda: Protest as a Form of Civil Function

  1. Ben, this is the best piece you have ever written in this blog.
    Kia ora/cheers/bravo.
    (Equally, HdP-A’s column was one of the dumbest articles ever published in the NZH. She’s embarrassed both herself and The Herald.)

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