By Steven | March 1, 2012
So the head of TVOne and Two, Jeff Latch, asks for a powwow with Fair Go staff. Labour broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran asks whether, at that meeting, he asked them to go easy on TVNZ’s advertisers. Here’s his response:
“The key points I made at that meeting was that the heart of Fair Go for the past 20 odd years it has been on television, is that it represents the underdog and the small guy and stands up for them,” he told Parliament’s commerce select committee.
“I also made the observation we operate in a commercial environment and Fair Go, like all our programmes, need to exercise care in the way they handle stories.”
Journalists needed to make sure stories were always balanced with the views of both sides of the story, he said.
“A story that is not balanced could be something that is not really what we would want to run on that network.”
Latch said there was “nodding acceptance around the room that that made sense”.
It does make sense. So much sense, in fact, that you have to wonder why Jeff Latch had to organise a meeting with Fair Go to tell them that. Did he also mention that they should try to be accurate? Not defame people? Latch should know that Fair Go are probably the TVNZ reporters best versed in broadcasting standards and media law, since they deal with them every week. (Back in my days at Kensington Swan, I used to provide advice to them).
Asked if he was instructing Fair Go not to produce programmes that upset advertisers, he said “it wasn’t an instruction, per se.”
Not per se? This sounds weasily to me. Was it a hint, Mr Latch?
Because actually, Fair Go has a pretty good track record in its broadcasting standards complaints. It has not been listed in the BSA’s “Most complained about” shows for at least the past three years, despite the fact that it often makes serious accusations against people with the resources to sue. Likewise, there haven’t been any reported defamation cases against them in the last few years, as far as I can tell. Was there a big secret settlement recently?
If not, Mr Latch - how should I put this? - you should stay the fuck away from the Fair Go staff. It’s their job to tackle TVNZ’s advertisers when that is merited, and it’s your job to hire good journos then leave them to get on with their job.
Topics: Media ethics |
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