There used to be a webcam in the Beehive Theatrette run by R2 that broadcast the PM’s Post-Cabinet press conference. Anyone who wanted to could go to the site and watch the press conference live and uncut. It was direct access for the public, the very model of digital democracy. Now, that service is gone. R2 was being asked to pay unaffordable ‘sponsorship’ to have the webcam and Parliament blocked access for maintenance. So much for transparency.
Here’s R2’s statement on the loss of the webcam:
This webcam was sponsored by R2.co.nz. It allowed viewers to watch proceedings in the Beehive Theatrette. On a typical week at around 4pm, The Prime Minister delivers a post-Cabinet meeting Media Briefing. This and other events were recorded and made available afterwards.
The webcam has been withdrawn for two reasons
1. We can no longer afford to sponsor it.
2. We have been unable to gain access to maintain the equipment. Our Parliamentary access was withdrawn with no explanation and an application for new acreditation has gone unanswered.
It got too hard.
Now if you want to know what happened in the PM’s one regular media appearance per week that is not a soft interview, you’ll have to hope that some press gallery journalist decides to tell you. You’ll have to rely on their filter.
It is disgraceful that John Key has allowed this valuable service to be lost. Frankly, it should be provided by the government, maybe through the Parliament website like the coverage of the House is, for example. It shouldn’t be left to a private company and that private company certainly shouldn’t be charged for the right and obstructed from providing their service.