Sky News host Andrew Bolt has raised concerns about the alarming 'misuse of state power' by New Zealand authorities after a scheme to block two Australian reporters from covering a protest in Wellington last week was exposed.
Bolt said that the plot, revealed by a leaked Interpol memo that confirmed NZ Police went on a fishing expedition to dig up dirt on Rebel News reporter Avi Yemini and independent journalist Rukshan Fernando, was a blatant attack of free speech.
"For me the laws are there for a reason and if these laws are being used to spare a politician from having coverage of a rally she doesn't like something very sinister is going on and the New Zealand press, I appreciate the reporter who raised that, should be red-hot about this," Bolt said.
"This is not about who you like, this is about free speech and the misuse of state power."
The story is still trending across social media with commenters livid that a Western democracy like New Zealand would choose authoritarian measures to stop reporters from covering a protest it doesn't agree with.
WATCH AVI'S REPORT:
Despite a hunger for information about the incident showing clear public interest, both the Australian and New Zealand mainstream media were silent.
Yemini said that the bigger issue of free speech should sound alarm bells for every person who values freedom of the press, regardless of other political views.
"Everybody should be outraged whether you like me or not," Yemini said.
"If you believe in freedom of the press, even if you don't think I'm a journalist, you should be so worried that the police can go out of their way and ... find some information that they can then say 'oh, now I have a reason to stop you from coming and even then when the reason is so flimsy according to their own laws it's not even justified.
"The entire thing was politically motivated and, in fact, it goes against Interpol's own consitution where they say they cannot be politically motivated."