- Date published:
12:11 pm, February 19th, 2010 - 34 comments
Categories: Media - Tags: clear channel, ironbridge capital, marcus lush, mediaworks, mike hosking, newstalk zb, Radio Live, radio nz, the radio network
One of the strongest arguments for keeping Radio NZ properly funded and not reliant on advertising and sponsorship is the need to give journalists the independence they need to fulfil their role as the fourth estate.
While journalists at commercial stations are all too aware of the need to appease their corporate owners and the advertisers who pay the bills, the public broadcasting model means journalists at Radio NZ have the independence and the resources they need to serve the public properly. In fact, they’re required by legislation to do just that.
There’s no better illustration of this than how the debate over National’s funding cuts has played out on Radio NZ compared to its commercial counterparts.
As Lew notes in The Standard‘s comments:
This interview on Morning Report today is the case in point of why we need NatRad: Geoff Robinson tackles the issue head-on as an important matter of the public interest, plays devil’s advocate and at one point when John Boscawen asks him to say whether he thinks there is a lack of funding, tells him ‘it’s not my job to defend Radio New Zealand, it’s my job to ask questions of both of you’. Goddamned right.
That’s called professionalism. Even when it’s an issue directly affecting Robinson’s work he refuses to insert his own or his employer’s interests into the story. He maintains his critical distance and simply does his job as a professional journalist.
Over at Radio Live and ZB the breakfast hosts have dropped any pretense of public interest, and have instead taken upon themselves the role of shills for the interests of their corporate owners.
Marcus Lush, who happily uses public money for his TV shows, used his breakfast slot on Radio Live yesterday to call for RNZ to be forced to play commericals. “Then there’ll be a level playing field”, he says. I can only assume he means we should gut RNZ to make it easier for his employers to increase their market share and, by extension, their profits.
Over at Newstalk ZB, their breakfast host Mike Hosking (who learned his craft on the publicly funded RNZ) sneered that the only people against cutting Radio NZ’s funding are the unions and the writers’ guild. He went on to imply that it was all some kind of conspiracy from the Labour Party.
This is what it comes down to. Radio NZ is the last bastion of public service broadcasting left in this country. It’s funded by us and it’s accountable to us. I don’t want my democracy left in the hands of Ironbridge Capital and Clear Channel Communications USA. Because that’s what’s at stake here.