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Waitangi Ban on Non-Maori Journalists Condemned

The ban of non-Maori media on covering events at Te Tii Marae at Waitangi was condemned today by Gavin Ellis, Chairman of the Commonwealth Press Union (New Zealand Section) (CPU). “This ban is an obvious and unacceptable challenge to media freedom and the right of the New Zealand public to have access to information that should be in the public arena” said Mr Ellis, who is also editor in chief of The New Zealand Herald.

“It is significant that the Te Tii Marae representatives have not challenged past media coverage on the basis that it was incorrect, simply that they do not like it.

“If the media of New Zealand was put in a position where its access to information and events was only on the basis of producing compliant and “satisfactory” reports, this country would have no press freedom.

“The CPU calls on the Te Tii Marae representatives to lift the ban forthwith.

“We do not accept the claim that it is now too late to lift the ban in time for tomorrow’s ceremonies. It can be lifted today and must be lifted today. Such bans, are in any event, futile. They do not prevent journalists from seeking to know what has occurred and reporting it to the best of their ability.”

The CPU is the New Zealand section of a commonwealth-wide organisation of editors, journalists, publishers and other media representatives with an interest in media freedom. The Press Freedom Committee of the CPU meets regularly on issues of media freedom and representatives from newspapers, television, radio and magazines are members of the committee.

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