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Parliamentary TV Coverage Attacked by CPU

11 March 2005

Parliamentary TV Coverage Attacked by Commonwealth Press Union

Press freedom in New Zealand will be badly damaged if parliament becomes responsible for televising its own deliberations according to the Commonwealth Press Union Media Freedom Committee (CPU).

“The plan is simply an attempt by politicians to ensure control over their media image,” according to CPU Chairman Tim Pankhurst who is also editor of the Dominion Post.

He says the CPU is fully supportive of the television industry’s complaints to the new Speaker about the plans of parliament to set up a special TV service to supply coverage of parliament.

“There is a perfectly good system in place now whereby the different TV companies can shoot their own coverage and we believed that this had been accepted by the previous Speaker of the House. It is of interest to the print media because if the politicians take control of TV broadcasting are they next going to set up a unit to take still photographs? If they succeed with this plan, why not nationalise the whole parliamentary press gallery and take charge of the words as well?”

The CPU is to seek a meeting with the new speaker, Ms Margaret Wilson to seek an explanation for the planned new television service.

The CPU Media Freedom Committee is representative of all newspapers, magazine, television and radio organisations in New Zealand.


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