Pirate Party Australia Cautions Against New Proposed Legislation to Curb Misinformation

BRISBANE, 1st July 2023 – The Pirate Party Australia today voiced its concern over the newly proposed legislation which aims to combat misinformation online by imposing fines on tech platforms.
“Our view is that the best disinfectant for misinformation is sunlight,” said Pirate Party Australia President, Miles Whiticker. “Instead of burying misinformation, it needs to be brought to public scrutiny and systematically addressed. This way, the Australian public can make informed decisions based on open dialogue.”

The proposed bill, empowering the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to impose penalties on tech companies for failing to combat misinformation, raises several concerns for the Pirate Party.
“We acknowledge the harm that can result from the spread of false information,” stated Whiticker. “But it is paramount that any measures taken don’t result in an unnecessary clampdown on the free expression of ideas or force misinformation further into the depths of the internet, creating echo chambers that are much harder to dispel.” The Pirate Party Australia also underscores the importance of moderation being a voluntary act. “Consumers should be able to choose communities that match their desired level of regulation,” Whiticker stated. “Many communities lack trust in public figures due to perceived bias against their interests.”

The party also cautions against the potential for government overreach in the new laws. “While we do not favour more regulation in general, we recognise that legal recourse may be necessary when misinformation leads to harmful consequences. It is important that such processes should be handled by the independent judicial system, thereby ensuring impartiality and preventing political misuse,” Whiticker added.

The Pirate Party encourages the government to focus on spreading correct and trustworthy information, with a strong emphasis on education to foster a more discerning and critically thinking population. “The ultimate power lies in an informed public,” Whiticker concluded.

The Pirate Party Australia invites its members and the public to engage in this important debate and provide feedback on the proposed bill before its public consultation stage concludes in August.