Kim Dotcom joins TVNZ7 funeral

MARIKA HILL
Last updated 18:40 30/06/2012
TVNZ7 'funeral', Central Auckland
GRAHAME COX/Fairfax NZ

IN MEMORIAM: Protesters stage a mock funeral for TVNZ 7 in central Auckland.

Kim Dotcom
GRAHAME COX/Fairfax NZ
FALLEN CHAMPION: Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom saw the Media 7 show as a champion of internet freedom.

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Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom joined a mock-funeral procession to protest the demise of TVNZ7 and speak out about the extradition case against him.

The plug is being pulled on the commercial-free station TVNZ7 at midnight after the Government chose not to renew $79 million funding over six years.

Dotcom joined a few hundred protesters who marched up Queen St in a last-ditch attempt to save the public service channel.

During the protest, the Megaupload founder showed there were no hard feelings with police after their botched raid on his mansion in January as part of FBI moves to shut down his online site.

Dotcom shook hands with a police officer at the end of the march.

A High Court judge this week ruled that police search warrants used to seize property from Kim Dotcom were illegal.

Although reluctant to speak in detail about the current extradition case against him, Dotcom said he was pleased with the High Court ruling.

"We're very pleased with the judgement and happy to see the justice system works in New Zealand."

He spoke less kindly of US authorities.

Dotcom told TV3 it frightened him that the US Government was able to simply take all his computer data.

FBI analysts flew to New Zealand in March and reviewed seven hard drives of information from Dotcom's home.

Dotcom said his favourite show on TVNZ was Media 7 as he saw it as championing internet freedom.

"After the raid on my house they had an expert panel and they were talking quite positively about Megaupload."

Dotcom's company Megaupload may be seen by some as a direct competitor to television, but Dotcom said there is a future in the box.

"The internet is certainly presenting challenges to any big media company. The answer is about evolving and innovating and making it work."

TVNZ7 will become a TV One Plus One channel - standard TV One programming, delayed by an hour.

The final day of the channels' broadcasting was marked by the 'funeral' through Auckland city, ending at St Matthews in the City on Hobson St. 

People brought candles and a fake-coffin was driven up in a hearse.

Todd Ross, who lead the march, said he was disappointed the Government had chosen to cancel the station.

"It had diverse content, local content and it gives possibilities for local producers."

The protest group gathered at St Matthews Church in the City to "mourn"  the death of public broadcasting.

A Save TVNZ7 online petition closed with more than 33,000 signatures from supporters across the country.

The Save TVNZ7 lobby group recently hired high profile lawyer Mai Chen to examine whether the Government has acted lawfully in its decision to axe funding for the free-to-air channel and if Save TVNZ7 could seek a judicial review of the Government's decision.

Recent audience data shows TVNZ7's audience has grown from 863,100 last year to 1.47 million, comparable with the audience of Maori Television.

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Chen would determine by the end of the month whether she would take legal action on behalf of Save TVNZ7.

- Stuff

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