- 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.
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.
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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