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Treat journalists evenly - union

February 5, 2004
Media Release

Treat journalists evenly - union

The journalists’ union, the EPMU, says that any rules on media access at Waitangi’s Te Tii marae should be applied evenly.

Organisers of a function at the marae have denied access to the marae to journalists from the mainstream media, but have let in some journalists from Maori media outlets.

“We respect the right of people to ban the media from private property,” said national secretary Andrew Little, “but if the event is an open event, all media must be allowed access.” “Selecting which media you have present taints those who are allowed access.”

Mr Little said that Waitangi Day events were of national political and social interest to New Zealand, and that all journalists should be given the opportunity to cover them.

“Respect for truth and the public’s right to information are overriding principles for all journalists,” Mr Little said.

“We understand the concerns that marae leaders may have with some parts of the media, but we believe that it is in the public interest for all journalists to have access to the events in order to improve the public’s understanding of these issues.

Mr Little said that journalists who were members of the EPMU were bound by a code of ethics which, among other things, required them to:

- Report and interpret the news with scrupulous honesty by striving to disclose all essential facts and by not suppressing relevant, available facts or distorting by wrong or improper emphasis.

- Not place unnecessary emphasis on gender, race, sexual preference, religious belief, marital status or physical disability.

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