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“Include the majority” – churches on TVNZ Bill

From: The Churches Broadcasting Commission

“Include the majority” – churches on TVNZ Bill

“We ask only for fairness and consistency in the legislation,” said Trish Moseley, chairperson of the Churches Broadcasting Commission (CBC), when appearing before a select committee of Parliament to hear submissions on the TVNZ Bill in February.

Mrs Moseley told the committee that more than 60 percent of New Zealanders “in the privacy of their own homes, without any coercion and with an option to state otherwise” nevertheless wrote in the census aligning themselves to a mainstream Christian denomination.

She said that CBC asked the committee to recognise this significant majority of the population by including in the TVNZ Bill a requirement to feature a range of broadcasts in accessible time slots that reflect the diverse religious and ethical beliefs of New Zealanders.
And in the section of the Bill that refers to the fulfilment of its objectives, the CBC suggested the following words: (that) TVNZ will reflect the role that spirituality plays in New Zealand life and culture.

Mrs Moseley noted that nowhere in the Bill was there any reference whatsoever to religion, spirituality, or ethical beliefs – “I should add that ‘ethical beliefs’ is not our preference for words – but it is a phrase that Parliament itself put into the 2000 Broadcasting Act, so we’ll go with it for consistency’s sake”.

From 1998, the CBC lobbied the government to include some legislative recognition of the need for reflecting the spiritual dimension of life in the programmes of publicly-owned electronic media, principally TVNZ and Radio New Zealand.

“And we were successful. The words are in the Broadcasting Act of 2000,” said Mrs Moseley.

“Now we simply ask that they be fair and consistent and include the same requirement in any subsequent Acts relevant to public electronic media,” she added.

Mrs Moseley said she felt the CBC delegation got a good hearing from the select committee and she is very hopeful that before the legislation is passed, Parliament will include the words suggested by the CBC.

“Once that is achieved our next task will be to ensure that the law is recognised and put into practice by the broadcasters. And that will be a challenge,” she said.

(Note: the Churches Committee on Broadcasting formally represents 14 churches on broadcasting issues. )


Photo: Mrs Trish Moseley, the chairperson of the Churches Broadcasting Commission.

Contact: Trish Moseley Phone: 03 544 4294 or 0274 475 082 Email: pmoseley@paradise.net.nz

28 February, 2002

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