What should the Government do with NZ media? A ‘Read Between The Flags’ Blueprint for Kiwi Journalism 


Watching corporate media grovel on their knees in front of the Parliamentary Select Committee this week was funny wasn’t it?

The same mainstream corporate media who empowered Cameron Slater and the Dirty Politics plague.

The same mainstream corporate media whose very first editorial called on white people to fight Māori.

The same corporate mainstream media who had a journalist pretend to be a counsellor so as to trick a waitress into giving them a story to protect John Key and ran with it despite being told the interview was taken under false pretences.

The same mainstream corporate media who have always given voice to the free market acolytes and the bankers and the farmers.

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The same mainstream corporate media who have been hollowed out by financialization and  the global free markets they promote.

The same mainstream corporate media who have real estate pimps pushing speculation.

The same mainstream corporate media who have been toothless watchdogs to power.

The same mainstream corporate media who already take NZ on Air funding to endlessly recycle elite opinions between the RNZ-Spinoff-Newsroom publicly funded cultural oligarchy.

Watching them all beg for corporate welfare and scream they are the journalistic guardians of the truth has been truly funny.

The joke of our media to one side, the truth is this is a market failure.

The fundamental problem is that the advertising market has been bled dry by Google and Facebook while being owned by vulture capitalists who are only interested in using profits to cover the debt they’ve used to buy the companies.

Labour are allergic when it comes to big ideas needed to combat neoliberalism and market failure, they need to inoculate and inoculate fast because some huge ideas need to be invested in to see the media market stabilise.

1 – Public Funded Media in the nations interest

The RNZ-TVNZ merger should be occurring immediately with the following inclusions.

    • TV1 commercial free (so existing advertising can go to Mediaworks).
    • RNZ launch a commercial free youth radio station.
    • RNZ/TVNZ launch a 24 hour news station on one of their existing Freeview+ channels.

2 – Tax Google & Facebook and ring fence that for direct funding of corporate journalism

Google & Facebook charged a percentage on all revenue from NZ, that money is specifically ring fenced to a contestable fund available to established Media to specifically provide Fourth Estate Journalism.

3 – NZ on Air ‘Read between the Flags’ Kiwi journalism 

In a world of disinformation, we need journalism we can trust. We all get the ‘swim between the flag’ model of surf life saving, NZ on Air should be given extra funding for ‘Read between the flags’ Kiwi Journalism. This money is to break the current elite opinion NZ on Air circle jerk and provide revenue for smaller blogs and citizen journalism who become eligible if they agree to a set of Journalistic Principles. If you do agree and sign up, you are entitled to funding and must have a Kiwi Journalism flag on your site to show you are obliged to the Journalistic Principles Code of conduct.

You would have an awareness campaign to urge NZers to ‘read between the flags’ for trusted information.

The NZ population has always been too small for advertiser funded journalism, it has ALWAYS needed State support, add a broken market where vulture capitalists use media profits to pay the interest on their debt and you have a hollowed out Fourth Estate that can’t be a watchdog to anything other than their self interest.

Big ideas are needed, unfortunately Kris Faafoi isn’t a ‘big ideas’ kinda chap.

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  1. Any attempt to “steal” money from American companies based in America and paying tax in America would have Donald Trump putting a ring fence around new zealand and imposing the “greatest sanctions the world has seen”

  2. Require that any newspaper to receive govt support in any form must end paywalls permanently!!

    The whole point of news is that it reaches the people. It has to flow, uninterruptedly, to ensure that it is honest and clear.

    Paywalling means that essential information is being withheld from those who, in some cases, would most need to learn of it. ..particularly if they are to make informed decisions in their daily lives – and eg when they vote.

    Paywalling allows for secretly, silently poisoning the water from which we all ultimately must drink. It is noxious. It is wrong. If the govt were to help to finance it, that would be a travesty.

    • Yes paywalls filter out necessary information and there propaganda goes unvetted.

      Hardly surprising the NZ Herald is in trouble were once able to comment and opine on pieces from Hosking and political journalists. No longer, so why can their columns go unvetted?

      • their columns go unvetted

        And unread. In terms of needing readership to attract advertising, they’ve cut their own throats. A mass of people can no longer read their paper. So, their readership numbers have fallen. And so to less advertising.

        Following such a slow but steady suicidal approach to their biz, how can they with any integrity ask for govt support! Any such requests are their own B.S!!

        (And that’s apart from crap journalism – NOT across the board, but certainly some of them.)

  3. Two lessons from the Bauer fiasco.

    1. An end to foreign ownership of New Zealand/ Aotearoa news!
    Sure, foreign owned companies can sell their papers here. But they cannot take our generations-long papers. (Though, I guess that horse has already bolted 🙁 …But we can still guard against similar events in the future, if we act now.

    2. No single entity should own more than, eg two (2) different news outlets within AO/ NZ. End the accumulation of news ownership into one person’s hands.

  4. Oh what an opportunity the government has at its fingertips too rescue the fourth estate and remould it into a responsible part of our democratic landscape.

    One of the imperatives would be ensuring that at the very least our main news state funded vehicle is never compromised by paid political appointees who allow institutional bias by favouring one side over the other and use hand picked sympathisers too hijack certain political forums and run with only one political parties input into creating headline stories that political reporters run with as the narrative.

    In other words a ” negative campaign designed too destabilize a sitting government ” and other manipulations.

    And more importantly strengthen and depoliticise the Media Council ( formerly the press council ) which is funded by the industry and acts like the Police Complaints Authority which investigates its own members.

    This is an opportunity to give New Zealanders a reputable , factual non partisan news service we all can trust.

  5. It never ceases to amaze me the number of hacks that profess rabid right wing sentiments, “i did it my way, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, devil take the hindmost”. They conveniently forget the roads they drive on, the power schemes built by MOW, the schools there children attend, etc. etc. A quick look at hoskings cv shows that he is far from averse to sucking on the public tit, and there are many more of his ilk.

  6. TVnz radio nz total integration across all platforms but most of the investment going online and radio tv broadcasting has become irrelevant as has the source of content so need to look more like Rt vice news and very local

  7. I get the idea of between the flags to signal where the reliable info is but isn’t there a long term danger that this creates a mechanism thats very easy for the powerful to manipulate.

    In an ideal world people would learn to use their judgement – because it is possible to work out where the reliable sources of information are – it’s just really hard for people who spent their childhood in school being taught to genuflect to authority.

  8. What’s the difference between the NZ Herald and toilet paper? Toilet paper is softer and more absorbent! Still, if there’s a shortage of the latter the NZ Herald will do as that’s all it’s good for!

  9. What’s the difference between the NZ Herald and toilet paper? Toilet paper is softer and more absorbent! Still, if there’s a shortage of the latter the NZ Herald will do as that’s all it’s good for!

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