Coalition for Better Broadcasting – When Ethics Departs Democracy Soon Follows

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Apart from Judith Collins, the politicians seem to be almost out of the storm created by Nicky Hager’s book and the mysterious Rawshark has turned the publicity blowtorch to Katherine Rich.

Meanwhile the practice of journalism has been revealed to be even more lowdown, depraved and unethical than we thought it could be. As many have admitted, they were played. Others knew it and didn’t care. Journalists were already among NZ’s least trusted professions. As Chris Barton wrote in Tuesday’s Herald

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“We, the media, are not properly doing our job. If we were, the public faced with this massive Machiavellian network of lies and deceit, would give a damn. Instead, to paraphrase John Key’s masterful direction to an emasculated 4th estate: At the end of the day the public will see this is nothing but a left wing conspiracy smear campaign.”

Journalism in New Zealand can only go upwards from here.

So how can we take journalism upwards? A royal commission of inquiry will help, a blogging code of ethics, stronger defamation laws, an industry watchdog with statutory power to discipline dodgy bloggers might work… but all will struggle to keep up with lawbreakers who’s lies take months to detect and can swiftly change website or twitter account. For example our friend, Whaledump has avoided the surprisingly dodgy Twitter suspension by moving to Whaledump2. Ultimately we can’t control bloggers and we can’t legislate for politicians or journalists to be completely ethical.

The only solution is to create journalism that doesn’t crave a headline, that isn’t under-resourced by a boss squeezing every last dollar from it, that is collegial, intelligent, experienced, knowledgeable, analytical and independent. It is no accident that none of Radio NZ’s reporters were recipients of Cameron Slater’s slander.

The National Government has declared war on the Left. It seems only fair that the Left fight back (when it gets the chance) with a comprehensive public service broadcasting service including strengthened Radio NZ, television AND print, as recommended by Nicky Hager.

The other option is that we accept Cameron Slater and others like him will continue. And they are. See Radio NZ’sBlogwatch to see how ‘dirty politics’ is still happening.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I do hope that the media are taking a good look at how they do their job -and realise that it is all and only about ethics and truth. Otherwise anyone can just start up a rumor and call it ‘news’ -why pay for someone with a degree? Why not just hire someone on minimum wage with some mastery of the english language?
    If you cannot trust jornalists what is their point?

    • If journalists were really doing their job they would question just about everything we do in this culture. We are, after all in the process of destroying the planet we live on and even the left-most politicians (and certainly the Greens) are not promoting policies that properly address this.

      Obviously there are reasons why the Green Party can’t promote a platform of calling a halt to industrial society but the real problem is that most of us receive some degree of status within this system and we all want to protect that. Yes rightwingers have bought in to an incredibly destructive form of capatalism but we all have our limits – witness the discussions about vaccination and fluoridation that occur on this site occasionally.

      Those debates were only about public health on the surface, in reality they were really about the acceptable boundaries of our particular cohort and people were defending the left hand side of that just in exactly the same way that right goes crazy when they hear conventional left wing ideas. That’s why the debates get out of control so quickly – just like online debates about 9/11 – because we’re defending our class identity (for want of a better phrase).

      Anyway, back to journalists, they’re controlled by the fear of social isolation from their peers – that’s the real problem, they’re terrified of being caught outside the bounds of ‘acceptable thought’ and losing their status. Which is a large part of why National radio is only marginally better than the Corporate news services.

      Publically funded news services will help but it’s going to take much more than that – the right have think tanks and people developing ideology and strategy, which is how we ended up with everyone thinking neo-liberlalism is normal – the question is how we move things back.

  2. Someone needs to sort out the links in this article, unless you’re just encouraging us to send emails to all blue highlighted parties.

  3. “It seems only fair that the Left fight back (when it gets the chance) with a comprehensive public service broadcasting service including strengthened Radio NZ, television AND print, as recommended by Nicky Hager.”

    Balanced journalism doesn’t have a left or right bias. This comment is nonsensical.

    • Yes you’re right. That should read…

      “The National Government has waged an unethical war on its opponents. It seems only fair that ethically-minded Kiwis of all stripes fight back (when we get the chance) with a comprehensive public service broadcasting service including a strengthened Radio NZ, television AND print, as recommended by Nicky Hager.”

      • You’re right, it’s not really a war between left and right, it’s a war between what corporations need and what communities need. There’s no happy middle ground in that fight and the sensible place to be is at the extreme end of the continuum. (You can guess which end I’m suggesting we aim for)

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