US unlikely to honour NZ suppression orders - expert

An international law expert believes the US will be reluctant to talk about suppression laws. 

Justice Minister Andrew Little says he's been talking to some of his overseas counterparts about enforcing our rules, in the wake of a breach by Google last year in the Grace Millane case. 

Google sent the name of the man accused of killing the British tourist to subscribers of its trending service. Millane's murder had been picked up by news outlets in the UK, who don't answer to New Zealand court orders, and named her alleged killer. Kiwis began searching for his name online, causing it to show up in Google's trending service.

UK papers might soon have to obey NZ suppression orders

"Google, through their automated processes, effectively breached the suppression orders over that case," Little told Newshub Nation on Saturday.

He's trying to get the US, Canada, UK and Australia to agree to adhere to suppression orders issued by courts here. While the Commonwealth countries have been receptive to the idea, Little admitted he didn't even bother asking the US "given their jurisprudence on these sorts of issues".

Waikato University's Al Gillespie says the US might be increasingly interested in the conversation "because of what's recently happened in Texas", referring to a mass shooting carried out by a white supremacist inspired by the tragic events in Christchurch.

"But there will be a limit of how far the Americans will be willing to regulate the internet, because their concerns of free speech can pretty much trump anything," Dr Gillespie told Newshub.

He believes a media blackout of suppressed names is impossible when there is overseas interest in New Zealand cases.

"[The US is] where we get a lot of our media feeds from."

And if no agreement is reached, "search engines, for example, will still be able to do what they do".

Free speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the country's constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.