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Newspaper publishers rebuff attacks on Canon

Newspaper publishers rebuff attacks on Canon

The Newspaper Publishers’ Association, which manages the Canon Media Awards, has condemned attacks on Canon over the company’s sponsorship of the bloggers’ award won by Cameron Slater.

The blog award is one of 66 awards which were announced at the annual Canon Media Awards presentation in May. No others have caused controversy.

Since then, Canon has received some criticism, mostly on social media posts, by those upset by Canon’s association with Whale Oil. The site shows the Canon logo on its home page, standard practice for newspapers, magazines and websites which have won Canon awards.

NPA editorial director Rick Neville says the association deeply regrets the fact that Canon has received such criticism.

“Canon is a wonderful sponsor who does not deserve such treatment. The Canon awards are New Zealand’s premier journalism awards, are a brilliant showcase for journalism, and without Canon’s support, the awards could not be held.

“The awards are also a strong statement in support of freedom of expression in a democracy.”

Neville said it needed to be understood that Canon had nothing to do with the judging, or selection of the judges which is done by the NPA in consultation with senior editors of newspapers, magazines and websites.

“This particular award was made by independent judge Deborah Hill Cone in recognition of Whale Oil having broken a major story relating to the Mayor of Auckland, Len Brown. This story was followed up by mainstream media including newspapers, television and radio for many weeks.”

The fact Slater had won the award in no way implied that Canon, or the NPA, supported or condoned other content on Whale Oil.

Some media have questioned if the NPA should withdraw Slater’s award in view of allegations made in Nicky Hagar’s book Dirty Politics claiming that Slater used unethical means to get the Brown story.

“The NPA has not considered this, and Canon has made no request for this to happen,” said Neville.

“In the 40 year history of the awards, none has ever been withdrawn and it would be an extreme, highly unusual step.

“The only justification for even considering this would be if concrete evidence came forward of illegal or highly unethical methods having been used to obtain the Len Brown story. Nicky Hagar has made a number of allegations but these are not the same as evidence or proof. “


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