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Coke versus Pepsi not good enough anymore: Norman

22 October 2008

Coke versus Pepsi not good enough anymore: Norman

An analysis of election media coverage in The Press today shows that TV news programmes are being bullied into cutting the MMP parties out of their content, Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman says.

"The Press' analysis confirms that collusion by Helen Clark and John Key has succeeded in bullying TV stations into unbalanced and unfair coverage of the MMP parties and their policies," Dr Norman says.

"An obvious example of this is the Leaders Debate, where TV3 cancelled the 'all parties debate', and is only going ahead with the Clark and Key debate, while TVNZ is continuing to host the MMP parties but separately from Clark and Key.

"It is vitally important in an MMP environment that the media cover the smaller parties - not just the old Coke versus Pepsi line. The media need to stand up against Key and Clark's preference for marginalising the modern political voices of the country.

"The policies of the smaller parties will almost certainly influence the next Government. Without fair coverage, people don't have a fair opportunity to hear about policies they may want to use their votes for.

"The Press' analysis also shows that media coverage of the smaller parties has been disproportionately negative. It is important that media provide a balanced picture of what is on offer leading up to the election. In fact, the Broadcasting Act requires that a balanced view is provided, but The Press shows that this is not happening"

The Press says "Of the 18 political stories on TV3s flagship news bulletin last week, Labour and National were mentioned in 10 and eight respectively. The Green Party was mentioned in only four stories, NZ First in five and the Maori Party was mentioned twice.'

Over on TVNZ, of the 12 political stories Labour and National were in all but two. NZ First was in 6, the Maori Party got one mention. Act had only a billboard featured while the Green Party only got to comment only on Labour's student allowance proposal.

The Press says "You'd be forgiven for thinking that United Future, the Progressive Party and 11 other registered parties weren't contesting the election at all."


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