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Broadcasting board top-heavy with Labour friends

25 February 2001

Broadcasting board top-heavy with Labour friendlies

The new Minister of Broadcasting, Steve Maharey, should think long and hard before making the final appointment to the Broadcasting Standards Authority, National's Broadcasting spokesperson Katherine Rich said today.

"The industry grapevine suggests Judy Callingham, wife of Brian Edwards and friend of the Prime Minister, is poised to be appointed to the BSA. That would mean a virtual Royal Flush of appointees who are in some way affiliated with the Labour Party.

"If it is to be effective, the Broadcasting Standards Authority must remain an apolitical organisation which makes its decisions in relation to the broadcasting standards code, not the prevailing political doctrine.

"The BSA frequently hears complaints from politicians, complaints about politicians and in election year, complaints about election broadcasting.

"Numerous people with links to the Labour Party are already on the board, and the addition of Judy Callingham could make it difficult for anyone to accept that the decisions of the BSA are politically impartial.

"The BSA has already been damaged by a total clearance of experienced members and replacement by members with no recent broadcasting experience. It must not be compromised any further," Katherine Rich said.


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