When a woman who had experienced forced electroshock told her story on a New Zealand television news show, the doctor who had given the involuntary electroshock filed a formal complaint with the TV show, claiming it was the journalist who had violated the woman’s informed consent.

Electroshock — also known as electroconvulsive therapy — runs electricity through the brain.

26 March 2007
MindFreedom International News

A New Zealand television news program issued a judgment today supporting the free speech rights of a woman who had forced electroshock to tell her story.

On 12 February 2007, TV3 in New Zealand featured an interview with Julie Simmonds who had survived involuntary electroshock against her expressed wishes at The Ashburn Clinic in Dunedin, New Zealand.

The same doctor who gave Julie the forced electroshock — Dr. Stephanie du Fresne — filed a formal complaint with the television station, claiming that this news program had violated the woman’s human rights to informed consent. 

Commented David Oaks, director of MindFreedom. “This is super-bullying. The doctor who gave Julie her forced electroshock claims it is the news program that had violated Julie’s rights, by giving her the opportunity to tell her story. Julie has shown a lot of courage.” Ms. Simmonds’ husband had also tried to stop the broadcast.

The TV3 news program has a process to reply to such complaints. Today, TV3 issued their response to the doctor. The TV3 Standards Committee found against the doctor, saying to do otherwise would “be inconsistent with the operation of a free and democratic society.”

To read a copy of the complete TV3 decision, click here.

Said Oaks, “We ought to all file our own civil statements. First, let’s ask The Ashburn Clinic to fire this bullying psychiatrist. And let’s also thank TV3 for standing up for free speech.”

Contact info for The Ashburn Clinic:


To thank TV3 news you need to register on this TV3 news web page and then use the password that TV3 e-mails to you to log-in and type into their “contact us” box:


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