The Herald ban

Written By: - Date published: 3:22 pm, October 7th, 2011 - 27 comments
Categories: newspapers, Parliament - Tags: ,

Speaker Lookwood Smith is getting a lot of flak for his decision to punish The Herald for publishing a photo (taken in violation of Standing Orders) by banning their reporters from Parliament for ten days.  It seems pretty clear that Smith has gone overboard on the letter of the law, instead of considering the intent.  There’s plenty of coverage, here’s an example from 3News:

Herald ban sets ‘extremely concerning precedent’

The Press Gallery at Parliament is calling the ten-day ban of New Zealand Herald journalists “extraordinary” and says it sets an “extremely concerning precedent”. Ten Herald journalists will be kicked out of Parliament for 10 days after their website published an image of the man who tried to leap from the public gallery into the debating chamber.

The image was taken without the Speaker’s permission by Herald journalist Audrey Young who was sitting at the press bench at the time. She took the photo with her phone and it was published later that day. Standing Orders, which are the rules in Parliament, forbid images being taken in the public gallery – a rule which aims to discourage protests. …

The ban has infuriated political media, with Press Gallery chairperson Jane Patterson saying the move is “extraordinary” and sets an “extremely concerning precedent”. “Reporters are individually accredited and take responsibility for their own actions, but to suspend a whole office on the basis of one person’s actions is unfair and disproportionate.” She says the ban will affect the “critical role [of the media] in the democratic process” and deprives the paper’s readership in the lead-up to this year’s election.

The Engineering, Print and Manufacturing Union (EPMU), which represents journalists, has also joined in on the fight, calling the Speaker’s ban “heavy-handed” and an “over-reaction”.

I’d bet on Smith backing down fairly promptly. The last thing the Nats want is to piss off the media this close to the election. Who knows, they might decide to drag out and dust off this old chestnut…

27 comments on “The Herald ban”

  1. wyndham 1

    Ten (10) Herald reporters at parliament!!

    Whatever do they do?

  2. Ari 2

    I don’t see why accredited journalists, at the very least, shouldn’t be allowed to take photos of members of parliamant inside the debating chamber. Seems a rather unnecessary ban. What was the rationale behind doing this to prevent protest(er)s?

    • insider 2.1

      MPs aren’t allowed to comment on goings on in the viewing gallery either according to the rules.

      I suppose it’s to discourage bad behaviour by starving it of publicity and probably goes back to freedom of speech issues from when the gallery might be stuffed with thugs or an angry mob to try and intimidate parliamentarians.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        No, it goes back to when what happened in parliament was a deep, dark secret. It’s taking a few centuries but we’re slowly holding the politicians more to account.

  3. tc 3

    Hilarious is all I can say…..would we even notice if they weren’t there and agree with wyndham…10 FFS maybe 6-7 are strategically shaved gorillas chained to keyboards.

  4. I couldn’t believe the NZ Herald this morning when I read it… Lockwood Smith has overstepped the mark again in my opinion. Don’t like what the media is reporting… quick! Close it down. I’m not sure that ten reporters is all that many. There are a lot of MP’s and often lots of stories to report on.

    • felix 4.1

      “I’m not sure that ten reporters is all that many. There are a lot of MP’s and often lots of stories to report on.”

      Yeah I agree, but are they doing it? Where’s the in-depth political reporting in the Herald?

  5. JT 5

    I think Lockwood has thrown a boomerang at The Herald. One of the Herald’s arguments, or slip ups, if you like, was to suggest “…it didn’t even reflect badly on any particular politician…” (paraphrasing here)

    What? Who said it would? Are they suggesting it could? Who exactly?

    For Lockwood to suggest it is a matter of Standing Orders is to suggest that a room full of politicians in heated argument close to an election aren’t engaged in political activity. If the photo got out, the story would get out and if the story got out, the particpants would be named and if the participants are named, their actions would be discussed and…

    well it’s like one of those join-the-dots activity books from my childhood. The Herald knows it, but might have gone at it half heartedly if they had been allowed to rush the job. Now they’re annoyed because Lockwood blinked first. Ten long days of annoyance. When those dots are finally joined, the lines are going to draw an outline of the face of John Key, drawing an imaginary knife across his neck.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      I don’t understand this comment.

      You appear to be suggesting we wouldn’t have known about the guy attempting to jump if the herald hadn’t published a photo of it. Which is odd.

      • Jumbuck 5.1.1

        Oversimplifying. If the effect of pictures were simply what we saw, then newspapers would be text only.

  6. randal 6

    Bullshit. Patterson should know the rules. And there are other newspapers one can buy. the Herald just has to suck this one up. Post modernistic do what you likeism hasn’t completely taken over yet. One up for Lockwood.

    • Bazar 6.1

      i have to agree
      The reporter must have known what they were doing was against the rules, but published it anyway because it was so interesting.

      If the law is there to stop any media interest encouraging protests, and the picture was taken of just such an event. The reporter broke both the spirit and the letter of the rule.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        If the law is there to stop any media interest encouraging protests, and the picture was taken of just such an event. The reporter broke both the spirit and the letter of the rule.

        Its not, its House rules, so the rest of your statement is BS.

        • Bazar 6.1.1.1

          Well i should congratulate you viper, you actually managed to post a reply without pointless insulting.

          Fixed:
          “If the RULE is there to stop any media interest encouraging protests, and the picture was taken of just such an event. The reporter broke both the spirit and the letter of the rule.”

  7. Adrian 7

    This is Lockwood following the Crosby-Textor rule book. Number1-Protect the Dear Leader, protect the Dear Leader, pro…. But like all authorotarian mandates it may just backfire.

  8. Jan 8

    Agree this is a Silly article – this one and in Herald protesting too much and becoming the story instead of reporting on the news.

    The real attack on democracy is one NZ faces every day – the permanent inadequate and trivialised reporting and profound lack of analysis of what goes on in politics and Parliament – including the Herald photo of the incident in the gallery. The unwillingness of the PM to be interviewed by the news media except under tightly controlled conditions and that the fact that is not in itself newsworthy is an attack on democracy worthy of comment. The exclusion of rule breakers on the last sitting day. No.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1

      last sitting day ? Too late that was yesterday.
      The ban is 10 days starting next Monday.

  9. randal 9

    You right Jan. The media has become piss weak and focussed on themselves instead of the news. If it aint rugby or britney spears favourite colour then they dont give a stuff. Its puerile and juvenile tripe most of it.

  10. Update: The Parliament ban on the NZ Herald imposed by Lockwood Smith has been partially lifted.

    Previously the speaker had banned the Herald journalists from their offices for 10 days, just six weeks out from an election. However, in a statement released this afternoon he said the journalists could have access to their offices.

    Strange that he has done this just after saying he would not. Is the Speaker of the House a bit schizo!

    • Anne 10.1

      Nah… he’s had his instructions from the psychopath on the ninth floor of the Beehive to pull his head in and let em back into their offices cos otherwise he (the psy…path) will miss out on some photo ops!

    • mik e 10.2

      Crosby has textered him

  11. mik e 11

    It has backfired because National won’t this story buried and forgotten by little johny rotten punk prime minister pity he didn’t have a razor blade in his hand when he made the jesture then we would have to call him Keymo the emo
    The last people National need to piss off is Granny Herald with their free election advertising

  12. freedom 12

    why not just ban phones/image capture devices in the gallery ?

    the journos that still turn up
    might even pay attention to the floor below

  13. ak 13

    Speaking of bans, is it just me or has anyone else been banned from Trotter’s blog? Hell of a swag of whack-a-Goffy comments and posts on there, but mine just disappear. Repeatedly.

    Sole credible lefty MSM commenter knifes Phil in the back weeks out from the election. No critical comments allowed

    Disappearing video apropos the throat-cutting episode.

    Incessant pro-NACT MSM propaganda intensifies despite election proximity and overwhelming and indisputable evidence of failure.

    Fuck this. This is my father’s country.

    Time to occupy something.

  14. Pundit X 14

    A photojournalist writes. Yes its the Herald and they are now getting the opportunity to give some thought to their sycophancy and how meaningless it has been have pissed off Sweeny Key and been frozen out of the big house. The really important thing that should actually concern us all is that there is a ban in the first place. Pictures make events real in a way that words don’t. Thats why governments ban photographers and cameras. If you really want a free and open society let the cameras in.

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