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CPU Seeks Intervention In TV3’s Leaders’ Decision

12 September 2005

Media Release By Commonwealth Press Union (New Zealand Section) Dated Monday,

CPU Seeks Intervention In Decision On TV3’s Leaders’ Debate.

The CPU has today instructed Public Law Specialists, Chen Palmer to file applications in the High Court and Court of Appeal intervening in the appeal against Justice Ron Young’s decision on TV3’s Leaders’ Debate broadcast on 11 August 2005.

CPU chairman Tim Pankhurst, said that the action was being taken because of concerns that Justice Young’s decision goes too far in interfering with media freedom and independence in New Zealand.

“In particular, we are concerned that this proceeding invites the Courts to intervene in editorial decisions in respect of reporting political debate in New Zealand which should be made by editors, rather than the Courts. CPU Members fear that editors may be reduced to counting the number of articles or lines or minutes of air time allocated to each political party, undermining the rights of editors to make their own decisions about what is or is not news worthy”.

“New Zealand has a proud record as a promoter and respecter of media freedom and independence. The CPU fears that any decision that the Court has a role in determining how the media reports or comments on political debate will undermine this position”.

“We are worried about floodgates. What about other matters of public significance or impact, like local body elections, elections to DHBs, debates over the foreshore and seabed issue, over civil unions, and the list goes on. Are they also public functions where the Courts can direct editors what to do?”

The CPU’s application for intervention is supported by TV3.

At this stage, no date has been sent for the hearing.

ENDS

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