CTV journalists barred from wreath-laying

CHARLES ANDERSON
Last updated 15:55 08/07/2014
ctv
MARTIN HUNTER / Getty Images

PAYING RESPECTS: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie Abe lay a wreath at the CTV site on Monday.

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Canterbury Television was blocked by police from covering an earthquake memorial event at its former site after an apparent government blunder.

The Department of Internal affairs has apologised to Canterbury Television (CTV) after journalists were turned away from covering the arrival of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday.

Abe and his wife, Akie Abe, paid tribute to the people who died in the CTV building during the Christchurch earthquake. The pair laid a wreath at the site.

The building was where 115 of the 185 people who died in the February 2011 earthquake died.

Among those victims were employees of the station and 28 Japanese students*.

However, CTV's head of news and content, Jacqui Shrimpton, said it received no notice of the site visit or what it entailed from the Department of Internal Affairs, which managed the event's media coverage.

Other media were sent a detailed outline of the visit and a request to confirm their attendance.

When a CTV journalist and cameraman arrived they had been ejected by police because their names were not on the list, Shrimpton said.

"We are frustrated and disappointed to not have been invited and were embarrassed in front of Christchurch media to have been sent away."

Police had been apologetic, but strict security meant they could not allow the journalist and cameraman to stay.

"It's an embarrassment that it was CTV in particular and that we have fallen off that list."

DIA media manager Christine Seymour said the department was looking into what happened, but had apologised to the station. If the department had not included CTV on its list it would be an "oversight," she said.

* An earlier version of this story said 12 Japanese students died in the CTV building. This was incorrect.

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