from FreeNZ on the protest held last Saturday about the blatant political bias in favour of the Jacinda regime of this state-funded broadcaster
Dear Radio NZ,
To many New Zealanders, you are the beloved official radio voice of New Zealand. Some of us here today, also used to think that. You were neutral and impartial, or so it seemed from a certain white middle-class perspective. Sure, some people accused you of a left-wing bias, but overall you appeared to be on the side of all New Zealanders. There was no name calling. News and current affairs were presented in measured tones, and presenters and guests alike were civilised and erudite.
Apart from some tense interviews between politicians and confrontational Morning Report presenters, Radio New Zealand exuded an air of calmness, reassuring us that everything was all right in God’s own.
As if to confirm this view, an AUT study, published this year, shows that you are the most trusted of the New Zealand media outlets. However, there’s also bad news for you in that study. Your trust rating, like the other outlets, has dropped in the last two years. In your case, dramatically, by eight percentage points. Down from 70% to 62%. This shows that many members of the New Zealand public understand that recently, you haven’t been doing your job properly.
So what’s been the cause?
Its been a stressful two and a half years, with the country going through a pandemic response that involved:
- job losses,
- social distancing,
- vaccine passes,
- and mask and job mandates.
The flow-on effects have included:
- job losses,
- destroyed businesses,
- loss of income,
- fractured relationships,
- increased isolation,
- increased stress,
- declines in physical health,
- vaccine injuries,
- and an increase this year in all cause mortality.
And how have you responded to these devastating events? Actually, they’ve barely registered as a blip on your “news radar”.
Let’s judge your response to the events, by your own standards, by looking at three of the elements from your ‘Purpose’, as outlined in the Radio New Zealand Charter.
As an independent public service broadcaster, the public radio company’s Purpose is ‘to serve the public interest.’
It’s clear that since 2020, RNZ’s coverage of the pandemic has not been independent of the Government or the parliamentary system.
We know that your funding comes exclusively from the Government coffers, so perhaps the lack of independence isn’t surprising.
Nevertheless, there’s been very little pretence of independence in the last three years. Almost exclusively, your coverage has been in lockstep with the Government’s view. You, and most other media, have essentially acted as mouthpieces of the Government and the parliamentary system in general.
On the matter of the public interest, it’s unclear who defines ‘public interest’ — presumably, the Government. It’s certain that the interests of a large minority of New Zealanders have not been served by you in the last three years.
Freedom of thought and expression are foundations of democratic society and the public radio company, as a public service broadcaster, plays an essential role in exercising these freedoms.
So, it’s also clear that New Zealanders’ freedom of thought and expression on issues of Covid vaccines and mandates, has been stifled by you and other media outlets, as well as by social media giants.
Many people have been denied a public voice on these vital issues. This amounts to censorship, and is threatening the foundations of our democratic society. To be fair, you haven’t been as one-sided as many of the other media outlets. Nevertheless, with your biased and partly decontextualised coverage, you’ve excluded from public dialogue the voices of a significant minority of New Zealanders on issues such as:
* the government’s handling of the pandemic,
* the safety and efficacy of the covid vaccine,
* and the wisdom and morality of the lockdowns, mask use, and mandates.
There are alternative views on these issues backed by strong scientific research. Occasionally, you and the other media have reported the findings of a study which runs counter to the official narrative. But it has quickly been buried in the avalanche of daily covid case numbers, musings by carefully -screened experts, and the ‘single source of truth’ in the Beehive.
Now to point number three:
The public radio company fosters a sense of national identity by contributing to tolerance and understanding, reflecting and promoting ethnic ,cultural ,and artistic diversity, and expression.
You have fostered a sense of national identity, but that identity has been limited to promoting the Prime Minister’s ‘team of five million’ – a bitterly divisive and exclusionary concept, which has done the complete opposite of contributing to tolerance and understanding.
You’ve contributed to the marginalisation of New Zealand citizens.
You stood by and said next to nothing in opposition to the temporary stripping of the human rights of hundreds of thousands of people, the effects of which are still being felt today.
And you’ve also been part of the demonisation of New Zealanders. One example of this was a softball interview this year with security ‘expert’ Paul Buchanan, who speculated, with no hard evidence, that recent anonymous bomb threats to schools “may have come from anti-maskers”.
RNZ, you’ve drifted a long way from the principles of the purpose in your charter.
We ask you to revisit your charter and make a renewed effort to serve all New Zealand taxpayers.
A group of concerned citizens.