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Greens Applaud New Broadcasting Programme

3 February 2005

Greens applaud new broadcasting programme

The Greens are delighted that the Government's Broadcasting Programme of Action deals with critical issues facing broadcasting, but are wondering when concrete steps will be taken to put the programme into practice.

Green Broadcasting Spokesperson Sue Kedgley said: "I am particularly pleased it acknowledges that New Zealand has one of the weakest regulatory environments for broadcasting in the world and that there is a need for some greater controls and monitoring."

Ms Kedgley welcomed the Government's intention to review and strengthen the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA).

"At present the BSA is a toothless, passive and reactive body which does not even have the power to ensure the Broadcasting Codes are implemented. It is crucial that it be given powers to enforce and implement these codes, and in particular to reduce the amount of violence screened on free-to-air channels.

"One of the specific goals of the BSA should be to reduce the levels of violence on TV2. At 8.3 cases per hour, the level of violence on TV2 is similar to levels on free-to-air commercial channels. This is outrageously high in comparison to the 2.5 cases per hour on TV1."

Ms Kedgley said this violence level clearly demonstrated the need for the Government to allow TVNZ to reinvest its surplus back into quality New Zealand programming.

"We are delighted that the Government is considering this, but are urging it to indicate when action will be taken to make good on these fine words."

Ms Kedgley said she was also pleased the Government was looking at the issue of advertising around children's television programmes.

"Children's television should be an advertising-free zone. The Government's intention to reduce advertising around children's television is a step in the right direction."

She said she looked forward to seeing how the Government would address the important issue of how sponsorship of news and current affairs undermines broadcaster independence from commercial interests and raises conflict of interest issues.

"We hope we can look forward to current affairs programmes which are not sponsored by Charlie's or the ANZ," Ms Kedgley said.

"While these are all welcome steps, it is crucial that TVNZ abandons its culture of extravagance if it is to get support and buy-in from the public."

ENDS


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