Most strong democracies also have long tradition of high quality public broadcasting. In my opinion the situation in New Zealand has always been mixed. National Radio is a great success and an asset to the country (albeit an asset that is under threat from declining funding). Our various models of public television have been a failure, and with the last vestige of this tradition soon to die out with TVNZ7, the failure will be complete. It isn’t good enough.
Labour to establish new public broadcaster for digital age
Kiwis will be asked to help shape a new, non-commercial, modern public broadcaster to be established under a Labour Government.
Announcing Labour’s broadcasting policy today spokesperson Clare Curran said it would bring together elements of non-commercial public broadcasting that already exist, including the statutorily independent functions of TVNZ7 and Radio NZ, to both strengthen and broaden them in the digital environment.
The new broadcaster, which may also include a nationwide news service, will be based on the outcomes of a nationwide public debate, to be completed within one year of Labour winning office.
“A strong, independent, free public broadcasting media service not driven by commercial interests is essential to an informed democracy,” Clare Curran said.
“Labour’s commitment to restoring public broadcasting in New Zealand marks an important change towards a contemporary Kiwi approach to protecting and promoting New Zealand’s culture in the 21st Century.
“The current Government axed TVNZ7 and stripped TVNZ of its public charter. We are currently one of the very few countries in the world without a public television broadcaster. …
“A public debate will allow New Zealanders to have their say on the shape of future public broadcasting. [My emphasis]
I’ve highlighted the quote above which I think is the main issue. Democracy functions best with a well informed populace, and I don’t know of anything (after we exit the education system) that beats public service broadcasting for achieving that. But if you want another reason, just take a look at the endless diet of advertisements, reality TV shows, advertisements, American sitcoms, advertisements and advertisements on corporate TV. No thanks!