Election TV proposal draws flak
Wed, 18 Jan 2012 8:00a.m.
Bryan Bruce's documentary Inside Child Poverty: A
Special Report screened four days before last November's polling day,
raising concerns it was too politicised and could sway election results.
On Air, which provided funding of $105,400 towards the programme, has
taken legal advice as to whether it can add a "covenant requiring
broadcasters not to screen programmes likely to be an election issue"
ahead of election day.
The revelation was in material released under the Official Information Act to the Scoop news website.
On Air board chairman Neil Walter is standing by the move, saying while
the broadcasting funding agency was happy to fund controversial
programmes, it could not be seen to be supporting some political views
over others at the risk of influencing voting.
But commentators, including media law experts, have labelled the step "heavy-handed".
Mr Bruce himself told Radio New Zealand on Wednesday he was outraged the body would consider such a move.
He argued his programme had been both relevant and important and was politically unbiased.
Steps to censor such a documentary would be a "dangerous" affront on democracy, he said.
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5/02/2013 8:20:35 a.m.
First, thanks to TV3 and especially the team at Campbell Live, for their great work highlighting the important issues that TVNZ are reluctant to cover. This is a disgraceful situation for our nation, and full credit to TV3. A very sad time for broadcasting in NZ. TVNZ cannot get any worse, as I never watch it. It should be flogged off and the money invested in a quality, non commercial, public
broadcaster. SKY rules the airwaves aided by a compliant Government. We are poorly treated by this Government in so many ways. 53,676 Kiwi's voted with their feet and off to Oz last year. Join the dots folks.
18/01/2012 7:44:26 p.m.
<i>It seems there is nothing scarier to a right-wing government than an intelligent, informed populace getting involved in the democratic system.</i> Let's face it wiseacre, there would never be a National- led govt. if that was to happen.
18/01/2012 7:44:06 p.m.
i am wondering about the mentality of one who could claim that childrens' preventable severe health problems not receiving adequate care and consideration by the govt services was in actuality a political electioneering stunt. That the public should not be informed as it may sway voting decisions. Fascism at work. How dare those little kiddies get sick and expect prompt and appropriate treatment or to have their environment considered for their safety and well being!!!
18/01/2012 9:34:28 a.m.
As long as the documentary is well researched and presented there can be no case against screening at any particular time, close to an election or not. Issues such as child poverty are relevant at all times. One would like to think that viewers are (almost) smart enough to realize when a media item is timed to have a political impact and to dismiss the item of being less relevant and more political than it might actually be.
18/01/2012 9:23:05 a.m.
moral outrage wrote:
It has become a sad day in NZ now that the govt. propaganda machine is in full force. We are being churned through as grist to the mill. The current govt. is plastering propaganda everywhere to get to us, yet any footage or programming that could appear to highlight any systematic failure can be censored and shut down. If govt legislation and policy is creating an environment where children are not getting their fundamental health needs met it is vital the community are aware and can work together to make changes for the better
18/01/2012 9:03:08 a.m.
Pete George wrote:
If it was an honest attempt top create interest and debate during the election campaign it would have been aired weeks earlier.
Timed as it was it's hard to escape the appearance of an attempt to influence the election with no chance of a reasonable discussion.
The timing of the documentary was an 'affront to democracy'.
18/01/2012 8:18:35 a.m.
So, the National Party hacks on the NZ on Air board are trying to censor the media.
It seems there is nothing scarier to a right-wing government than an intelligent, informed populace getting involved in the democratic system.
Why don't they want the voters thinking about the issues during the run-up to the election? Don't we want voters to be informed on the relevant issues?
Surely we should be playing more informative documentaries on the issues affecting this nation and its people during an election campaign, not actively trying to keep people ignorant and uninformed.
It is not the role of NZ on Air to ensure the easy re-election of the incumbent. NZ on Air should be independent of political interference and free from political crony appointments. How dare they try to keep the people of New Zealand ignorant of the issues that affect us all!
Information is the currency of democracy - without an informed public, there is no democracy.
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