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Radio NZ should explain why Tom Frewen was sacked

24 February 2006

Radio NZ should explain why Tom Frewen was sacked

Radio New Zealand appears to be breaching its own editorial policies by terminating the contract of well-respected media commentator Tom Frewen, Green Party Broadcasting Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"Radio New Zealand have terminated Mr Frewen's contract - and not allowed him to appear on air - because of an article he wrote that was published in the National Business Review on Friday 10 February," Ms Kedgley says.

Radio New Zealand says it decided to terminate his contract because the article was "contrary to the conflict of interest provisions of Radio New Zealand's editorial policies."

"I have carefully read the offending article, and the conflict of interest provisions contained in Radio New Zealand's editorial policies. The article seems entirely harmless, and I can't for the life of me find anything in it that could possibly be construed to constitute a conflict of interest under Radio New Zealand's policies," Ms Kedgley says.

"This being the case, I believe it is incumbent on Radio New Zealand to clarify publicly what specific comments in the article breached its policy, and how.

"It is also crucial that staff within the organisation have a clear understanding of how Radio New Zealand is interpreting its rules. They need to know why, for example, it was acceptable for Kim Hill and reporter Sue Ingram to write articles for the Listener but a sackable offence for Tom Frewen to write an article in the National Business Review.

"It appears that Radio New Zealand has breached its own editorial policies, and in particular, its motto (quoting the Bill of Rights Act and published on the cover of its Editorial Policies) that 'everyone has the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form'," Ms Kedgley says.

"Radio New Zealand also boasts in its Statement of Corporate Intent that 'it has developed a new human resource strategy based on our desire to foster a more inclusive culture: one that is firmly rooted in upholding the principles and values of quality, impartiality and diversity for which public service is known and which sets us apart from broadcasters in the commercial sector.'

"I would like Radio New Zealand to explain how sacking someone for writing an article about TVNZ and Sky fosters an inclusive culture and upholds the principles of impartiality and diversity," Ms Kedgley says.


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