Thursday, 8 September 2005

State Radio suspends host for asking questions?

Radio New Zealand has apparently suspended Morning Report co-host, Sean Plunket, after what was described as a "confrontational" interview with Greens co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

The interview was about the controversial pamphlet on the Green Party, which a group of members of the Exclusive Brethren church had printed and delivered to homes around the country. (Apparently an independent group distributing a pamphlet is called "a smear campaign, according to the media... while Union pamphlets with dodgy takes on National party policies are classed as "legitimate freedom of speech").

(On that note, an interesting question of the day courtesy of David Farrar at Kiwiblog... Which sinister group has spent $353,000 on smear ads during this election campaign? Answer: The PPTA...)

The Greens expressed "disappointment" with Plunket's angle of questioning, but Fitzimons insists the party did not make a formal complaint to Radio NZ, or asked for disciplinary.

This action shows the true colours of State Radio. Gone is the idea of tough questioning, when that question line is at odds with the preferred coalition Government of Radio New Zealand.

New Zealanders are used to incredibly tough question lines (many which could be considered as a tad biased), but it's just accepted as part and parcel of the way the media works. I believe most people would admit to hearing more than a couple of "tough" interviews between Politicians/Public figures and the likes of Kim Hill, Linda Clark, Paul Holmes, etc.

One more reason why the State should not be involved in the media industry as a Broadcaster in any way.

* NZ Herald: Radio Host in hot water
* Scoop: Fitzsimons surprised at Plunket suspension
* Too Right: Sean Plunket suspended? (includes link to an mp3 of the interview)

*(Update: According to today's reports, Plunket was suspended after a shouting match with the boss, which followed Fitzsimons interview. Obviously he strayed a little from the Radio NZ Party line, in that he gave a tough interview to a potential coalition partner for the Labour Party. The EPMU (The Engineering and Print Manufacturing Union) have refused to comment.

(They're the ones that represent many journos, and are the same ones that are spending the journos money in national papers this week, with half page advertisments featuring misleading claims about National Party policy. Why is it that "balance" only applies to the media when they're talking about the centre left??)

* NZ Herald: Plunket's suspension due to row with boss
* NZ Herald: Brash hits out at media
* Insolent Prick: Labour's Pay-Off to Unions

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  1. KAS Says:

    Doesn't seem right to me either...