“RNZ top job another for home team” was the editorial in Sunday Star Times April 17. Broadcasting Minister Coleman has appointed Richard Griffith to chair Radio New Zealand.
Griffith is a) a PR pro and b) a National lackey having been media advisor to a previous National Government. Griffith is the sixth appointment by this government to a Board of seven.
This is a problem for at least three reasons:
RNZ is the closest New Zealand has to Public Service Broadcasting. It should be free from political interference and commercial pressures, so it can educate and inform the public without bias. Its independence is important to democracy. Can RNZ now be seen as unbiassed?
As the editorial points out, National has often complained that RNZ journalists are lefties. Is Griffith expected to get rid of this “perceived bias”?
The editorial reminds us that the government has just loaned $43.3m to Mediaworks (owns TV3). Not only is this yet another bailout of a private company, but way more scary is the possibility that the government is stacking public and private broadcasters to get good press in an election year.
Politically I’m a green national and I’ve supported this government til now. Actually, til Bill English said that NZ should be a low wage economy, meaning we compete with Vietnam and Cambodia for low wages – given that China and India have publically stated they want higher wages for their workers. How much crap does this government think New Zealanders can swallow?
Scrapping RNZ independence is the last straw for me.