Director’s Voice Provide Checks and Balances   20 Jan 2012

A healthy democracy needs a free and open broadcasting environment.

The recent moves by NZ On Air (NZOA) to question the timing of the broadcast of Inside Child Poverty and then to seek to legal advice on controlling the scheduling of programmes “likely to be an election issue” is counter to their politically neutral position.

The Electoral Commission has stated that Inside Child Poverty: Special Report has not breached the Electoral Act 1993 or Broadcasting Act 1989.

“In the Commission’s view, the programme was not election related for the purposes of sections 221A of the Electoral Act, given the fact that it is issues based and does not feature or comment on politcal parties or candidates contesting the 2011 election or the election itself. In any case, section 221A does not “restrict the publication of any news or comments relating to an election in a … television broadcast made by a broadcaster within the meaning of section 2 of the Broadcasting Act 1989” (refer section 221A(4)). TV3 is the broadcaster in this instance and the programme is a documentary that would clearly fall within the term ‘comment’” – The Electoral Commission.

Under the current system any programmes scheduled during an election period are subject to both the scrutiny of the Broadcasting Standards Authority and the Electoral Commission. These organisations provide a sufficient check on the content of any programme. To load NZOA up with a complicated political brief will only create tension between the funding body, programme makers and broadcasters.

The SDGNZ supports the continued use of the current channels to assess the legality and impartiality of programmes rather than NZOA taking on this role.

The role of NZOA Board Member Stephen McElrea, who is also John Key’s Electorate Chairman and the National Party’s Northern Region Deputy Chairman, is now under scrutiny. Mr McElrea first raised concerns over the screening of the documentary as reported by Tom Frewan.

"Was NZOA aware that this doco was to be scheduled four days before the election?" he [Stephen McElrea] queried on Thursday 17 November 2011 to NZOA Board Chairman, Neil Walter, and Chief Executive, Jane Wrightson.

“While we understand that NZOA board members are often political appointments, our members are very concerned that a board member such as Mr Stephen McElrea would seek to use his position to influence programming when this is clearly not his role,” says Janette Howe (Acting Executive Director, Screen Directors Guild of New Zealand).

“Some SDGNZ members believe that Mr McElrea should resign now that he has shown such a lack of judgement over this issue and many have expressed to me concerns about their projects going forward for funding before the NZ on Air board.”

“Programme makers are worried that their proposals will now be assessed in terms of a perceived political influence rather than simply on the merit of the project,” states Howe.

(Screen Directors Guild of NZ)

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share

News

Pharmac increases access to new treatments

5 Dec 2016 Health
Jonathan Coleman 5 December, 2016 Pharmac increases access to new treatments Health Minister Jonathan Coleman we... more

Prime Minister John Key announces resignation

5 Dec 2016 Ministerial Speeches
Rt Hon. John Key 5 December, 2016 Just a few days ago I marked the anniversary of my eighth year as Prime Minister and my... more

Business

Treasury forecasts solid growth, stable finances

8 Dec 2016 Business News
8 December, 2016 Treasury forecasts solid growth, stable finances Treasury’s latest forecasts show the Government... more

Key crowns APEC summit with China free-trade upgrade

21 Nov 2016 Business News By Pattrick Smellie
Article - BusinessDesk Monday 21 November 2016 08:50 AM Key crowns APEC summit with China free-trade upgrade By Pattrick Smellie in ... more

Living

3rd Position, Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series

21 Nov 2016 Lifestyle
Emirates Team New Zealand EMIRATES TEAM NEW ZEALAND CLOSES IN 3rd POSITION THE LOUIS VUITTON AMERICA’S CUP WORLD SERIES more

Arts Foundation Award recipients for 2016

14 Nov 2016 Lifestyle
The Arts Foundation Next generation of internationally acclaimed talent among the Arts Foundation Award recipients for 2016Under ... more

Property

NZ house prices gain 11% in October

14 Nov 2016 Property
Article - BusinessDesk Monday 14 November 2016 10:28 AM NZ house prices gain 11% in October, driven by sales of higher value homes By... more

RBNZ sees pressures building in Auckland construction sector

11 Nov 2016 Property By Paul McBeth
Article - BusinessDesk Thursday 10 November 2016 04:04 PM RBNZ sees pressures building in Auckland construction sector By Paul ... more

Migration

Good progress on investment attraction strategy

8 Dec 2016 Migration
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has welcomed news that New Zealand is attracting a higher level of quality international... more

Changes to Financial Markets Conduct Act impact UK pension transfers

1 Nov 2016 Migration
New Zealand Government Hon Paul GoldsmithMinister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs 1 November 2016 Changes to Financial Markets... more

Travel

Work on $700m Puhoi road underway

8 Dec 2016 Travel & Tourism
Hon. Simon Bridges 8 December, 2016 Prime Minister John Key and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have turned the sod on th... more

Air NZ teams up Ronan Keating, Julian Dennison for Christmas song

2 Dec 2016 Travel & Tourism
Air New Zealand has paired up with singer Ronan Keating and rising Kiwi actor Julian Dennison to rejig a Christmas classic. 'Summer... more

Sport

BLACKCAPS lose Chappell-Hadlee trophy

8 Dec 2016 Cricket
BLACKCAPS lose Chappell-Hadlee trophy Posted Tuesday, 6 December, 2016 

more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome more

Kiwi Success

High Commissioner to India announced

8 Dec 2016 Appointments
Hon. Murray McCully 7 December, 2016 High Commissioner to India announced Foreign Minister Murray McCully today... more

Acting District Court Judge appointed

11 Nov 2016 Appointments
New Zealand Government Hon Christopher FinlaysonAttorney-General 11 November 2016 Acting District Court Judge appointed Wellington... more

Recruitment

NZ Government accepts recommendations on pay equity

8 Dec 2016 Recruitment
Hon. Paula Bennett,  Hon. Michael Woodhouse, Hon. Louise Upston 24 November, 2016 The Government will update the Equa... more

Fisher Funds hunts for new head to replace founder

2 Nov 2016 Recruitment
Article - BusinessDesk Tuesday 01 November 2016 04:42 PM Fisher Funds hunts for new head to replace founder Carmel Fisher By Paul ... more

s