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What about the press barons, Mr McCully?

21 July, 2004

What about the press barons, Mr McCully?

Green Party Co-leader Rod Donald today hit back at yesterday's extraordinary tirade by National MP Murray McCully against unionised journalists, saying the real issue was the biased agenda of the foreign owners of the New Zealand media.

Yesterday Mr McCully used a speech to the National Press Club to attack journalists for being too left-leaning and ordered them to leave the Engineers and Printing Union, which represents many workers in the media industry.

"If journalists are not allowed to belong to an union, then foreign-owned media organisations should not be allowed to take editorial positions on New Zealand affairs," said Mr Donald.

"Messrs O'Reilly, Murdoch, Fairfax and Asper have gobbled up much of New Zealand's media industry. Mr McCully should be more concerned that foreign corporations now control the flow of information that most New Zealanders rely upon.

"If Mr McCully thinks journalists have an inherent left-wing biased, shouldn't he be equally concerned that the foreign press barons want to erode the rights of workers, reduce pay rates, undermine environmental protection and open the floodgates to exploitative trade and rapacious foreign investment?

"Perhaps his silence is because the media owners' agenda corresponds with National's," he said.

"If National had its way, all of our media would be hocked off to the highest bidder, TV One's foreign owners would screen Fox News between the infomercials while Radio NZ would carry Dr Brash's speeches live - liberally interrupted by advertisements to keep everyone awake.

"Just imagine: 'this National Party law and order policy, brought to you by Group Four Security - the Private Prison People'."

Mr Donald said that Mr McCully's tirade reveals more about National's reactionary style of politics than it does about perceived bias by journalists.

"Every time the Nat's put up a major policy speech they live in fear that the fundamental flaws in their policies and the complete vacuousness of their claims will be exposed.

"Attacking the media is simply the National Party's latest attempt to stop diligent journalists from doing their job," he said.

ENDS

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