Last week impromptu protests around the country occurred in support of Campbell Live. These were organised by ordinary viewers who are shocked that TV3 would even consider shutting the show down. I was asked to speak at the Auckland one outside TV3’s Auckland HQ and the passion of those turning up left no illusion that should TV3 take Campbell Live off the air, TV3 would be facing a fairly large backlash.
The reason for that passion was because there is still an audience in NZ who have an expectation that their current affairs shows has genuine Fourth Estate obligations as opposed to the banal Disneyland of the medicare that is Seven Sharp.
MediaWorks may say that all that matters is ratings, but seeing how this Government have given MediaWorks commercial favours and a weakly regulated media environment that leaves MediaWorks, a foreign owned media company, in a dominant position, one could argue it is actually MediaWorks who have an obligation to us as citizens before their share holders.
The reason we need brave media with strong public broadcasting values have been spelt out last week when you consider the manner in which Rachel Glucina and the NZ Herald went about seeding defence lines for the Prime Minister while deceiving the young woman who had been brave enough to stand up to his constant touching of her. If these are the ethics of the mainstream media, we need change urgently.
If the political reasons to kill Campbell Live off are allowed to remove one of the most critical voices of the Government on TV, our Democracy will suffer.