MEDIA WATCH: NZME/Stuff merger vs the Duncan-Grieve-Centipede-NZ-on-Air-funded-echo-chamber Syndrome 

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Winston Peters throws in support behind Stuff/NZME buyout

Winston Peters has thrown NZ First’s support behind a re-animated plan for publisher NZME to buy Stuff while keeping its editorial operations seperate.

But any decision would still have to go through the Commerce Commission, which has blocked a merger between the two companies before.

Peters said on Thursday morning that if Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi backed the new “Kiwi-Share” proposal for the buyout NZ First would support it in Cabinet.

I’m just assuming Fairfax now donates to the NZ First Foundation.

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With the TVNZ-RNZ merger gathering pace, allowing NZME and Stuff to merge sounds more like a solution looking for a problem.

The fourth estate within a democracy has a sacred obligation to hold the powerful to account so that citizens are aware of wrong doing and broken promises come election time.

Without this feature, citizens vote blind and corrupt governments rule.

How can that responsibility to be the fourth estate keep citizens informed if voters have retreated into social media echo chambers and believe unchallenged conspiracy theories?

The only reason the RNZ-TVNZ merger is gaining traction is because top echelons of the power matrix in NZ have realised the ease with which the electorate can be manipulated via social media.

In the age of the deep fake and troll bot farms, a multi-platform source of journalism you can trust has become essential to a democracy.

A TVNZ-RNZ merger is part of the solution to that problem.

A media tax off Facebook and Google that directly funds journalism is also part of the solution to that problem.

But as for the NZME and Stuff merger. The Commerce Commission turned down the original proposal because of a fear that it would lead to a loss of plurality of voice, but if you consider the Duncan-Grieve-Centipede-NZ-on-Air-funded-echo-chamber Syndrome where NZ on Air funds The Spinoff who then share it with RNZ who then share it with Newsroom who then share it with Stuff, that plurality of voice has already disappeared in the existing market.

We currently get elitist opinion shared amongst all the platforms so actual opinion outside that NZ on Air funded echo chamber is currently being ignored. Preventing NZME and Stuff from merging when the fear the Commerce Commission is trying to prevent has already happened seems gauche.

The reason the Commerce Commission should say no to the merger isn’t the lack of plurality, it’s because the NZ Herald is behind a bloody Paywall!

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. We already have a contentless, biased and trivial media already in NZ.

    Having two big players merge, is only going to make it worse!

    Who knows what is happening to Winston to support a merger, which is going great guns on MSM!

    I guess the commerce commission is so broken now and in support of big business in NZ they feel confident in another try.

    When you can’t do your job (aka report the news adequently) then I guess the managers try to drum up work for themselves and a performance bonus, by planning a merger!

  2. I’m picking “lil ‘ole NuZull that punches above its weight” is going to get exactly what it deserves.
    And it’ll probably take things to get rilly rilly bad before there’s some sort of awakening.
    It’s like a load of media elites (including a politician and former ‘journalist’) lost in the woods trying to find a tree to hug, and all worrying about how they’re going to find a ticket to clip when it all turns to shit.
    Google, Facebook et all aside – none of whom have been paying their dues, but………
    NuZull on Ear
    Te Mangai Pahu
    Kordia
    RNZ
    TVNZ
    MTS
    Freeview
    MfCH, and even
    TPK – all with their various agendas and patches to protect, and all equipped with an enterage of managerialists, hangers-on, spin meisters and their associated salaries to protect.
    And what for? A couple of PS radio networks and a shitload of other radio channels all pumping out the same shite; Ditto Television but without any sort of PS imperative.
    My heart bleeds (/sarc).
    Supposedly that “lil ‘ole NuZull that punches above its weight” can’t afford PS radio and TV.
    I’ll wait and see what Faafoi comes up with, but from what I’ve seen so far, they’ve all been looking for a solution in the wrong place. And even if and when they find one, no one’s found a way of protecting it all from future political interference and manipulation.
    We get what we deserve

    • Just as well I didn’t post what I really think then eh?
      It hasn’t quite got to the stage of a ONE News – “YOUR” News starring “OUR” incisive team of Peter Pan and Wendy, with credits specifying who each is dressed by, but it won’t be long.
      But if anyone thinks this lil ‘ole Nation that punches above its weight can’t afford PS Radio and FTA television, alongside a plurality of alternatives, I’d suggest they’re simply trying to protect their own little patches.
      And THINK of the CHILDREN! CBeebies is fine and dandy, but a nation knocking 5 mill can’t even seem to cater for them adequately, unless of course you’ve got a few dollars to flick around various subscriptions at the end of the week.
      It’s my belief that there is no reason lil ‘ole NuZull that punches above its weight can’t afford
      – an IWI radio network with localised regional coverage
      – a PS service a la RNZ National for News and Current Affairs
      – a Concert network for music and the arts
      – a youth kind of thing – a la a The Wireless for those “who’ve grown up in the digital era
      – a couple of FTA PS television networks

      – AND
      – 2 or even 3 TV platforms for independents with alternative views operating on commercial/sponsored income, and the savings made from rationalising an utterly over-managed structure
      – continuation of Access Radio and other initiatives
      -other

      Probably best to let it all play out though eh. Maybe wait till the natives get a little more restless. There are a shitload of egos to be fed in the meantime

      Political will, and selfish interests wishing to protect their various patches are the problem.

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