Fair Go told not to upset advertisers, Labour claims

DANYA LEVY AND PALOMA MIGONE
Last updated 15:41 01/03/2012

Relevant offers

Politics

Teacher aides told there is no funding freeze for schools' funding ACT leader David Seymour talks about two certainties - death and taxes Six questions we can answer about the SAS incident, and three we can't Government wants Free Trade Agreements to cover 90 per cent of exports Youthful banker gets nod in Pakuranga David Walsh named new chief executive of NZ Post PM stands by Defence Force claims that civilians weren't killed in SAS raid Afghan villagers engage NZ lawyers over 'Hit and Run' SAS raid Below the Beltway: Winners and losers from the week in politics Working man to take on standing Taupo MP

Television New Zealand journalists working on the Fair Go programme have been told not to produce stories which would upset their advertisers, Parliament has heard.

Labour's broadcasting spokeswoman Clare Curran today questioned TVNZ bosses about a recent meeting called between management and Fair Go staff.

TVNZ management had instructed them not to "produce programmes that would upset their advertisers", she claimed.

However, head of TV One and TV2 Jeff Latch said it "wasn't an instruction, per se".

"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".

Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss said he believed TVNZ did not put any pressure on Fair Go staff to stay away from stories that would upset advertisers.

"I certainly don't think that's what they did. That's my interpretation."

He said he would follow up with the broadcaster at this point.

"If it gets raised with my regular meetings with TVNZ or any of the other authorities I'm responsible, sure.

"TVNZ is an entity in its own right. They are just making sure everyone is aware of keeping the balance on FairGo."

But, Curran questioned how the public could have faith in the integrity of the programme.

"How can Fair Go be trusted to provide New Zealanders with information they can trust if they are producing programmes which take into account how advertisers feel?"

Latch replied that advertisers would always be part of stories run on Fair Go.

"That is inevitable."

TVNZ chairman Sir John Anderson said integrity was "one of the highest values" the network placed on its credibility and reputation.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should the speed limit be raised to 110kmh on some roads?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Related story: 110kmh limit moves closer

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content