Red Alert

How do we keep our media free from political interference?

Posted by on November 9th, 2012

The case for a strong, independent, modern, commercial free public broadcaster is strengthening. The appointment yesterday of Richard Long, by Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss to the board of TVNZ at the very least creates a perception of a political appointment.

Long was chief of staff to Bill English and Don brash. He is competent and qualified for the position.

But this is our state broadcaster.

Media independent of political interference is a critical cornerstone of a functioning democracy. I contend we have crossed a line in the last four years. This is a deeply important issue.

17 Responses to “How do we keep our media free from political interference?”

  1. The Al1en says:

    Greetings, Clare.

    I guess the ‘no surprises’ agreements coalition parties sign, now extends to our state broadcaster.
    Get a man on the inside so we can get a heads up on the next dotcom or ‘past catching up with us’ scandal.

    Completely disingenuous to the bloke, of course, but then perceived conflict of interest will do that.

  2. spot says:

    Ann Hercus and Bryan Gould anyone…?

  3. Monty says:

    I wonder if what you mean is that it is only wrong when the Nats to it. The media have a long history of being essentially left (or in Campbell’s case extreme left.

  4. Mark.V. says:

    How is a public broadcaster, funded by the Government, going to be free from political interference?

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.

  5. SJW says:

    Clare Curran,

    I thoroughly agree, this is a deeply important issue.
    How can we have a sound democracy, while our information sources are so compromised AND substandard?

    We can’t.

    TV7 was great, Stratos and SBS One & Two were better. The channels we have been left with are utterly disgraceful as far as informative programmes go, apart from Maori TV.

    I can’t wait until more people cotton on to how our current government is solely working for a very small interest group and simply not holding the best interests of NZers at heart and how thoroughly incompetent that makes them for their role.

    I hope that this post means that once Labour gets into power again, they will thoroughly rectify this issue.

    Thank you.

  6. David Farrar says:

    As you say Richard Long is qualified, but he has political connections.

    You imply appts with political connections have only occurred since 2008. Labour in Government appointed former Labour Minister Anne Hercus to the TVNZ Board. That is a far far more political appointment.

    Long has 30 years media experience. Hercus has zero.

    Long has two years political involvement. Hercus was an actual MP for nine years.

    In terms of answering the question you propose, the main thing Labour can do is pledge that when in Government they will appointment no one to a media board who has a political background. That would then set up a contrast with National.

    So is Labour going to make that pledge?

  7. bbfloyd says:

    At last… this dialogue should have been happening years ago….

    SJW… There already is a significant group of people who understand just how corrupted our “fourth column” has become…

    The press have always been used as an outlet for propaganda… but the level of control being exerted by interests that have no investment in how our society works, or not, as the case may be….Has become almost monolithic in it’s application…

    I don’t envy the party that attempts to remove the outside interference in our fourth estate, as those with the control now have huge resources they can throw at any govt that tries to rebalance the information flow….

    Take note of how badly the Clarke government was treated by the news media, and realise that these same people can take it up a few levels yet….

    But for all that downside, the fact that if we don’t force apon journalists the need for them to do the job that they are supposed to do, and not just allow themselves to be secuced by promises of “jobs for the boys” once their use as a public mouthpiece for the current raiding party…then democracy sinks beneath the waves to be replaced by a reality that will only end in bloodshed….

    As night follows day, repressive regimes breed revolutionaries…. discontent breeds hate… poverty brees desperation….All ingredients for civil conflict….

    It really is that important that something is done before the tipping point is reached….

    Richard long is an excellent example of “jobs for the boys”… he would have been well aware that his current appointment was always going to happen, as long as he did the job he was picked for… and he has…

    Competent journalist, or not…. this is an obvious example of just how secure the raiding party is within the cocoon of protection being afforded by those same “journalists” in influential position in the news media…

    It can now be stated with little, or no coherent argument, that our “fourth estate” no longer exists in any form that could resemble what they are supposed to….

    One of the basic tenets of the press was supposed to be the upholding of a very important, structural foundation of the very democracy that we used to be so proud of….namely the fact that a healthy, properly functioning democracy relies on an “informed” electorate, making decisions based on reality…

    That very basic, and vital tenet has been utterly abandoned by people who have been bought, and paid for before they even left journalist school…..

    New Zealand, of all places, deserves better than that….

  8. bbfloyd says:

    @ davy farrat… Can you point to any specific instance when Ms Hercus used political influence to change anything to suit the govt of the day? Because if you can’t, then the assumption that you are simply attempting to misdirect, and distract attention away from the obvious corruption the current raiding party is wallowing in….is an easy, and accurate one to make….

    In other words, put up some proof, or make silly noises where it is best suited… on the coctail party curcuit….

    It’s your sort of self interested game playing that is a major part of the problems New Zealand faces…And the longer your kind of disloyalty is allowed to proceed, the harder it’s going to be to stop the inevitable fallout…

    But I thank you for giving the opportunity for people to see for themselves, just how craven the tories will get when it comes to protecting their position….

  9. OneTrack says:

    bbfloyd – The appointment of Hercus was still a political appointment of someone with no broadcasting experience – obviously a job for your mates, if ever there was one.

    But, thats right, if Labour does it, its ok.

    Never mind, you can console yourself with the certain knowledge that the remaining 99.99% of TVNZ employess are all card-carrying Labour (well maybe Green) party supporters. Long wont be able to do much damage.

    NB The statement that TVNZ gave Clark a hard time – you must be joking.

    NB2 Disloyalty? Holding a different view to the “approved” viewpoint? Is davy farrat now an “enemy of the people”.

  10. The Al1en says:

    “Is davy farrat now an “enemy of the people”.”

    I prefer parasitical lump of nothingness.

  11. Jack Ramaka says:

    Big Business and Politicans actually control the media. FACT.

  12. SJW says:

    Hmm having read the comments then perhaps it would be clearer to label this issue “How to keep our media free of big money’s narrow self-interests”

    The National party’s policies are fairly well aligned with big money interests, whereas the Labour party’s policies are historically aligned with wider interests and more diverse concerns. Therefore when National start interfering with media, it becomes more noticeably self-serving to a small sector’s interests; narrow in framing and debate than when Labour have been in government.

    I’m unclear why any ordinary New Zealander would support right-wing beliefs, when the only sector RW policies appear to advantage are the already highly advantaged ones. Right-wing strategists are aware of this anomaly too; they know they can only get the policies of those they are working for in by misinforming the public, Labour policies are not so “threatened” by more truthful reporting and analysis of issues (note the “not so” and “more”).

    Through these above factors mentioned, I provide reasoning for why the media has seriously deteriorated under National’s watch.

    Those of you accusing Labour as being as bad as National need to address the nature of TVNZ Channels 6 & 7 and what occurred with them under each parties watch.

  13. bbfloyd says:

    @one rut….Care to show some kind of proof for that idiotic statement regarding labour party membership of tvnz employees?

    i have no problems with you being humiliated by your own idiocy… But for the sake of civilised debate, I wiil allow you to prove that you aren’t blowing it out your rear…

    Yes yes, I know you just got carried away, and forgot how incapable you are of matching wits with me, but I am bound by my principles to give you the chance to minimise the self harm you do by making these rash outbursts..

    I will help you out here… DAvid FARRRaT, is, beyond any doubt.. “An enemy of the people”….

    He’s now been named… He is now seen for what he is, he has no place in any serious discussion regarding the recovery that will have to take place once the current raiding party has been seen off….

    Neither do the sort of fools that think playing sneaky(apparently) word games qualifies as real political debate…But they are easy to ignore…the FARRRaTs of this world have got access to the levers of mass communication…That makes them dangerous to every New Zealander… And to ordinary people everywhere…

  14. OneTrack says:

    Thank you bbfloyd for, once again, showing us the ugly face of the left-wing and the ideology of suppression and control. Chilling. Too bad for you that there are still so many people who believe in freedom of speech and will stand against you.

    Any sort of discussion with a crazed loon with comments like that are surely a waste of time. Will look out for you on the opposite side of the battlefield when the revolution comes.

  15. The Al1en says:

    “Will look out for you on the opposite side of the battlefield when the revolution comes.”

    You’ll have to be quick then, ’cause you’ll be up against the wall real soon after we kick off. 😆

  16. Jack Ramaka says:

    FARRAT is a National Party Hack spreading propaganda and mischief he is probably related to Goebbels.

    Would love to be a fly on the wall listening to Hone Key, Simon Joyce and FARRAT getting their next propaganda strategy going.

    This Tory Government is basically giving ordinary New Zealanders the one fingered salute.

  17. bbfloyd says:

    Wow!! I’ve become the bete noire of the tory troll set… And it was so easy….

    To my mind, one thing that could be ttried is to force newspapers/ news agencies to abide by anti monopoly rules….

    In as much as, if there were laws preventing monopoly ownership of the vehicles of the fourth estate, then Rupert Murdoch would not be able to influence the information we are given with such efficiency….

    At present, the nationwide editorial policies of nearly every major daily newspaper is dictated by a small group of people, who aren’t interested in New Zealand as a society.

    Their agenda is entirely geared to smoothing the way for the second wave of asset/wealth stripping that dunnokeo, and his band of merry pranksters has re-written laws to enable….

    This is, at best, irresponsible, long term, or short term, and at worst, promoting acts of sabotage against a sovereign country, and it’s people…

    People in other times, and recently, in other parts of the world, have been strung up, or lined up, and shot for these same actions….

    And yet, we are still agonising over how to make the buggers write proper news items….

    Well, it ain’t going to happen while the current rules of ownership stay in place….

    With proper anti monopoly laws in place, the next step is to make it illegal for any newspaper that claims nationwide, or daily output, to declare their political sympathies….

    I wouldn’t recommend suppression of the more extreme rubbish written on those pages, but if the shade of each newspaper is known, then it makes it easier to get a proper perspective on what is being written…

    At present, we have the unedifying spectacle of the herald fashioning itself as the “champion” of all things kiwi…when the reality couldn’t be farther from the truth…

    Forcing them to declare their political/ economic support base may go a long way to forcing a better standard of information flow…

    I realise that this suggestion is, and can only be considered a start, but as Claire’s post suggests, the problem has become acute..

    We need to start doing something concrete before the ability to have proper public discussions is lost forever…