Public broadcasting: an election issue

Written By: - Date published: 9:29 am, July 23rd, 2014 - 15 comments
Categories: accountability, broadcasting, internet, news, telecommunications, tv - Tags:

It has become very clear in the run up to this year’s election that we need better broadcasting and news media coverage of politics. The Campaign for Better Broadcasting has organised a series of public debates (with MPs from various parties) throughout Aoteatora, beginning this Friday in Dunedin.

coalition-for-better-broadcasting-logo-300x140

Yesterday on RNZ’s Nine-to-Noon [h/t inamac], Gavin Ellis commented on the recent Sunday Star Times story in which the reporting fell short of good standards of journalism.

Gavin Ellis & Kathryn Ryan

He was critical of the use of “anonymous” sources.  In this case the source was labelled as “the insider”, who had claimed the Labour caucus was unhappy with David Cunliffe’s 3 day ski holiday.

Ellis is highly critical that the reporter went with the story based on one informant.  Good journalists would aim to triangulate the story using at least 2 other credible sources.  Ex-Parliamentary reporter, Nine-to-Noon’s Kathryn Ryan verified that should be best practice.  I would also add that the other 2 sources should be people with firsthand knowledge of aspects of the story, and not people that are part of the Nats’ black-ops smear machine.

Ryan pointed out that, for such stories, a reporter needs to consider who the source is, and what their motivations are in coming forward with complaints about party colleagues.

This RNZ critique highlights two things: that RNZ is the last lingering remnants of a better public broadcasting in NZ; and the highly skewed reporting that we have been getting going into this year’s election.

Television is still the main way a high proportion of Kiwis get their news.  In the last week, The Campaign for Better Broadcasting reinforced this in an article on TV viewing in NZ.

But this week NZ on Air released research confirming what I have long believed. That the traditional television channels are hugely important still, and continue to be in the future. Each day 83% of all Kiwis watch the regular television channels compared to just 30% who click on YouTube and a mere 6% watching Online TV such as Apple TV and Netflix. Audiences may be time-shifting but they are still watching old-school, traditional television en masse. And that is where our broadcasting policy needs to be tightly focussed.

[…]

They were wrong about TVNZ7 viewer numbers, they were wrong that most TVNZ7 programmes would continue on other channels, and they were wrong about how Kiwis watch television. That eliminates all the government’s excuses for closing down TVNZ 7.

I do think that online platforms need to be part of any public broadcasting or media policy.

David Cunliffe and Kris Faafoi made statements along those lines last year.

The Green Party Broadcasting Policy is foregrounded with a statement about how recent governments have gradually whittled away the last remnants of public broadcasting, and supported commercial media.  The Greens Policy follows the orginal BBC Reith outline of Entertain, Educate and Inform.

We need a strong, diverse and independent media that contributes to the maintenance of effective democracy and Aotearoa New Zealand’s social, cultural, economic and environmental well-being.

The Internet Party is focused on maximising the democratic use of online capabilities.

The first Broadcasting Debate is Friday 25 July, 3.00 pm in Dunedin:

In the Media Production Studio, Owheo Building, 133 Union St East (Otago University).

with Kris Faafoi -Labour,

kris faafoi

 

Julie Anne Genter – Greens,

julie anne genter

 

Richard Prosser – NZFirst

prosser

Hosted by TV3 Reporter, Dave Goosselink.

Members of the public are invited to attend.

Those unable to attend can watch the debate live (and afterwards) via vote chat

You can also send in your questions:

via twitter @OUVoteChat or #votechat14

or by email to betterbroadcasting@gmail.com

Further meetings are planned:

Wellington
Monday August 11th at 4.30pm,

St Johns-in-the-City Hall, cnr Willis St and Dixon St, Wellington CBD

Debate with Craig Foss – Minister of Broadcasting, Kris Faafoi – Labour Broadcasting, Julie Anne Genter – Greens Broadcasting.

Auckland and Christchurch
Later in August/September

 

 

15 comments on “Public broadcasting: an election issue”

  1. Bill 1

    Each day 83% of all Kiwis watch the regular television channels…

    Yeah. But what do they watch? I had a really quick look through the final report and so may have missed it, but I saw no breakdown into ‘current affairs and news’, ‘sport’, ‘reality TV’ , ‘soaps’, etc.

    I suspect that more people than imagined no longer watch ‘the news’ or whatever partly because they already acknowledge that what they will be shown and what they will be told just doesn’t measure up in terms of information. Meanwhile on the other channel, at least the sport is real and less likely to depress you for no good reason.

    • karol 1.1

      Public service broadcasting is wider than “the news”, re the Entertain, Educate, Inform framework.

      The BPB article on that, refers to the quality of some of the channels – shopping channels, etc.

      Ultimately, our current corporate media focuses on consumer values, and diverts people from really engaging critically with what’s happening in the world.

      The think about the wider framework is to help the public to be culturally, socially and politically aware, through a diverse range of programmes.

      The success of the neoliberal scamm has been achieved through full spectrum dominance of their values inserted in diverse programmes and platforms, from entertainment, through reality TV to the (alleged) News slots – not a lot of genuine informing going on there.

      • Bill 1.1.1

        I agree. The current state of teevee results from the ‘dumb down cause that’s what people want’ nonsense that’s been going on for….years. But that puts the problem beyond mere standards of reporting or airing of meaningful documentaries/current affairs programmes. Are there any light entertainment programmes on now that would offer some measure of food for thought as any one of a number of series from the 70s did…or that programmes in the very early years of Channel 4 in the UK did?

      • Populuxe1 1.1.2

        Ok, I’ll bring up the elephant in the room.
        While you are sneering at “consumer values”, which is to say “what ordinary people want to watch”, you are ignoring that if you do not broadcast in a format that people actually do want to watch, they aren’t going to watch.

        You can lead a horse to water, yadda yadda.

        Also, while you are quite right to criticise the full spectrum dominance of neoliberal values in the media, I am by no means convinced replaceing them with your values would be any less, how does one put this… Oppressive ideological bullying.

        So unless you can address these two issues, it’s pretty much Potayto Potahto.

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.2.1

          Kiwi community and neighbourly values need to be reflected in broadcasting, not international commercial corporate values. It’s not that a hard (or oppressive) a concept.

      • Chooky 1.1.3

        +100 karol…Thanks for the Post …an important issue and at the moment New Zealand is served poorly!… both by newspapers and television…imo radionz is better and i particularly liked the comments by Gavin Ellis…i do not listen to private radio stations so i can not comment , but i suspect they have quite an impact.

        Maybe the Left could have a Media Watch with Critique and ratings( a bit like a weather report or temperature guage 1-10)…that the general public could refer to quickly

  2. Weepus beard 2

    From open mike 21/07:

    I had asked the Fairfax reporter in question, Steve Kilgallon, directly about his motives and methods for this article. This was his response.

    (Weepus beard)
    You’re confusing me with someone with an agenda. I have none. I just report interesting stories. The story is genuine and the source is real. Whether you like what they say or not is up to you. As regards my career and job prospects, you’re best directing such enquiries to my editor
    All the best
    Steve

    So he claims impartiality and that it’s just an interesting story. It certainly is an interesting story but one which appears, in the views of both Dr Gavin Ellis and Kathryn Ryan, to be a breach of our already eroded broadcasting standards.

    Let’s call Kilgallon’s article what it is, tabloid journalism.

    Thought I’d take Steve advice and direct and enquiry to his editor but it seems editors go though the SST like last night’s curry. Even Wikipedia can’t keep up.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sunday_Star-Times
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10842848
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11160085

    Could it be that Steve Kilgallon didn’t provide the name of his editor because he too can’t keep up?

    The SST is clearly in trouble and this sort of desperate article is the result.

    • Kiwiri 2.1

      Newspaper editors are anonymous?

      Well, bloggers with their pseudonyms are one up on them!

      /grin

  3. Tom Gould 3

    Maybe it is time we grew up somewhat and simply listed media and chooks by political bias? They seem to do it with newspapers in the UK. We play their game by pretending they are all ‘fair, accurate and balanced’ when we know they are not. Take the National Herald for example, which no longer even pretends to be anything other than a daily National Party newsletter. And as for the radio shock-jocks …

  4. Chooky 4

    Question is …does a Lefty participate in obviously Right wing media outlets or do they boycott them?
    Martyn Bradbury invites comments to his dilemma:

    “Dear Seven Sharp – I have little interest in appearing on your show so that you can pretend to have some type of balance’

    By Martyn Bradbury / July 23, 2014 / No Comments

    As the largest left wing blog in NZ, The Daily Blog has a responsibility to challenge the mainstream media narrative, if readers want me to appear on Seven Sharp, leave your vote on this post, or email me or Facebook me or Twitter me and I will decide at the end of the day.

  5. Ron 5

    OK I have decided to join the CBB and hope that we can get a big improvement in Broadcasting in New Zealand
    Hope you all join

  6. Jenny 6

    Will Labour back down to TVNZ?

    And let them have that vile Right wing scum bag moderate the election leaders debate?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10303335/Labour-claims-Hoskings-biased

    In my opinion if Labour stick to their guns and refuse to attend a debate hosted by Hoskings how could they have a debate?

    It will also put a spotlight on media bias.

    Will Labour do it?

    Or will they collapse like a soufle in the rain.

  7. Sable 7

    This really does not go far enough. Its time to organize public protest and debate. There are a range of sites on offer than make this possible and they do work And yet instead we have a forum that is easy to ignore and no doubt will be.

    Interesting to see people watch the news on TV. I have not done this in more than a few years given how trashy and subjective journalism in NZ has become. The nice thing about on line news is its easier to seek out sources that have at least some integrity.

    I suspect with the internet generation coming to maturity this will all change…

  8. Lorraine 8

    The shocking deterioration of democracy in this country and media agenda to maline, defame, mock the Labour party and in particular David Cunliffe. The media is implying unsubstantiated claims by Right wing influences that Labour and David Cunliffe in particular is untrustworthy and worse when they are in fact doing nothing wrong. Meanwhile government MPs are getting away with not being held accountable for breaking laws, facilitating criminals fleeing the country, covering up embezzlement of tax payers money, and the list goes on and on, while the right wing media slings slander and mud constantly at the left wing, especially Labour. This is shocking. There is not an unbiased one amongst those so called journalists. They are not journalists. They are government propaganda mouthpieces just like in dictatorships where the news organisations spout the government line to the exclusion of the opposition parties. We haven’t quiet got to the locking up of politicians that don’t follow the government line but our democracy is being eroded away by corrupt foreigners and government politicians that behave like the law does not apply to them, that are not being held accountable for their wrongful actions and get away with it scot free.
    I am so sick of panels, political commentators, and interviewers that are so right wing biased and wouldn’t know a impartial presentation if it hit them in the face. I would like to see them all sacked and a fresh lot of journalists bought in that aren’t pushing the right wing agenda that the current crop does in the way Fox news does.
    Why are old bigots like Mike Hoskins and Paul Henry still being bought back onto prime time tv when they should have been put out to pasture long ago. They can’t open their mouths without spouting some bigoted comment.
    Bring back true democracy for the sack of people who still believe in human rights.

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