Government’s control of media sends a shiver down democracy’s spine
The Prime Minister has admitted – under questioning in the House – that he himself chaired the committee that appointed his own electorate chairman Stephen McElrea to the board of New Zealand on Air.
How is this not news?
Despite the Opposition sending out a media release about this appalling abuse of political power just after 3pm yesterday, there has been no reporting of it by either of the two print media corporations in New Zealand. There is an Orwellian silence over the shocking disclosure on both Fairfax Media’s stuff.co.nz as well as on the NZ Herald’s website, and it begs the question, is this Government’s attempt to control NZ on Air just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the National Party manipulating New Zealand’s media?
As Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran points out, “Mr McElrea has faced consistent allegations of political interference in the running of NZ on Air since he complained about the timing of a child poverty documentary on TV3 days before the election. His position on NZ on Air is untenable”.
Now, the Prime Minister is under pressure over whether he declared his conflict of interest while chairing the board that appointed Mr McElrea, but according to our mainstream print media, this isn’t news. Something stinks in our democracy when a Government are working so hard to influence and control the message of mainstream media, and it becomes even more chilling when the country’s main print media don’t report any of it.
This is how free nations decline and fall. New Zealand needs to be very worried about the intentions of any Government so terrified of independent analysis and objective debate.
Perhaps this is why the Government are refusing to release the advice they recieved on John Key’s shonky Sky City pokies deal, which is incidentally, another story thus far unreported by our mainstream print media.