The 2020 Election Public Broadcasting Debate – NZ is going nowhere fast

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  • Kris Faafoi, Labour MP and broadcasting & media spokesperson
  • Melissa Lee, National MP and broadcasting & media spokesperson
  • Gareth Hughes, Green MP and former broadcasting & media spokesperson
  • Jenny Marcroft, NZ First MP and broadcasting & media spokesperson

You would think that with the rise of conspiracy theories spread like wildfire on Facebook and external actors who want to influence NZ politics that public broadcasting as a vital tool to protect our democracy would draw huge media attention and forceful debate.

You would think.

The 2020 Election Public Broadcasting Debate was held earlier this week and no one seemed to notice.

Kris waffled on, Gareth had already checked out because he’s off after the election but at least his contribution was meaningful, Melissa Lee is next to useless and Jenny Marcroft won’t be there after the election.

So a Minister who is asleep at the broadcasting wheel, 2 MPS who won’t be in Parliament after October 17th and Melissa Lee who can’t organise a walk down Ponsonby Rd without staging it.

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The debate went no where because these MPs aren’t going anywhere.

I honestly think one of the things that has been horribly exposed in this pandemic alongside many other structural weaknesses – is how important well funded public broadcasting is to the health of a democracy.

For those abused by the Government and for indiginous people who have been oppressed by the State, the rise of MAGAtanga conspiracy theory politics makes sense.

Those who have been let down by the System won’t believe the experts when it matters.

They will drift further away from a mainstream media who exist to sell them things they can’t afford and draw their news increasingly from only Facebook, an International Corporation who makes money by emotionally manipulating readers into staying online by prompting users with more and more outlandish content.

These fears are exploited by the National Party promoting conspiracy theories alongside fringe party politicians. 

By not fixing the broken market of NZ media, we have allowed conspiracy theories to infect our politics and our election!

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 and it has eroded trust in the media which is being exploited by Facebook and unscrupulous politicians.

Big ideas are needed but where the hell is Labour?

Willie Jackson needs to be the new Broadcasting Minister.

 

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10 COMMENTS

  1. 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.

    That would be so good.
    And it seems so basic.

      • Apart from a smear reeking in McCathyism, what is Red about either mentioned broadcasters.
        They both parrot US based propaganda and balance in journalism was lost long ago.

        So come on state what is so red that you are urged to comment

    • Change is needed within the RNZ board and the CEO.
      RNZ news is mostly from Reuters / BBC which dishes out US/UK based lies about the wars in Iraq. Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and the US / Israel hegemony to take over the Middle East.
      Russia and China are demonised as well as states such as Venezuela which are under unjustified attack by the US.

      Just look at the RNZ board and hunt for a mildly socialist voice. Most of the Board are tied in with business.
      The past CEO was ex Fairfax and the board chair prior to 2018 was ex Bolgers office. Important policy about journalism and news need radical revision.

      Even Kim hill is careful not to cross the Reuters based rubicon.

      RNZ News is not only misleading but deliberately so.
      NZ needs much better than that US crap and deliberate propaganda.
      We need balance not more neoliberal grooming of our NZ citizens.

      • ” Change is needed within the RNZ board and the CEO.
        RNZ news is mostly from Reuters / BBC which dishes out US/UK based lies about the wars in Iraq. Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and the US / Israel hegemony to take over the Middle East.
        Russia and China are demonised as well as states such as Venezuela which are under unjustified attack by the US ”
        John well done you are on the mark !!!

  2. Thank you Matryn for highlighting this importance that Labour should have a public broadcast platform medium as National has with stealing RNZ and having support from all private media so we can blame Clare Curran and Kris Faafoi for leaving us 99% taxpayers with no voice.

    • CAMERON SLATER

      JUDITH COLLINS

      CACTUS KATE

      Funny how the news media has a way of begrudgingly picking up on what’s REALLY been going on in NZ. Funny how it takes one courageous journalist to expose them before they wake up from their hangovers, eh. Funny how that journalist gets victimized for telling the truth, eh.

  3. If we have a centre left administration after November they really will be no excuse not to reform our shambolic broadcasting regime in this country. It is well overdue and necessary to restoring the health of our democracy. Curran failed miserably and Faafoi gives me no confidence that he can implement what needs to be done. If it is not going to happen under a Labour Green government it is not going to happen and that would be a disaster.

  4. I have been very disappointed with the govts efforts this term in broadcasting after the three parties campaigned with big promises and delivered nothing. The Curran fiasco didn’t help, but even after her departure there seemed to be no desire to make anything happen. I suspect it will be even more difficult to do anything next term with the Nats and Act zeroing in on what they deem ‘unnecessary’ spending by the govt during the difficult financial times we will have. No more excuses, if we have a Labour or Labour-Green govt then get on with it on Day 1 of the next term instead of more kicking the ball down the road. If they can’t do it now then we may as well give up hope anything is going to happen to give NZers decent public broadcasting.

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