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Paralympians not served well by commercial broadcasters

05 September 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Paralympians and public not served well by commercial broadcasters

The role public broadcasting should be playing, but isn’t, means Kiwis are missing out on some of the year’s best sporting action, Labour’s Broadcasting and Disability Issues spokesperson Clare Curran says.

“The lack of live coverage of events showcasing the enormous talent of our Paralympians is not only a lost opportunity to provide positive role models for the almost one in five New Zealanders with a disability, but also exposes the glaring gap that public television should be serving.

“Coverage of the London 2012 Olympics and the corresponding Paralympics couldn’t be more dissimilar.

“Sky TV pay wall subscribers are only being provided with the highlights of Paralympic events, while coverage for analogue or digital Freeview audiences is limited to items appearing on the six o’clock news shows.

“We pride ourselves on being a nation of battlers and standing up for fairness and equality. As signatories to the UN convention on the Rights of Disabled peoples we have made a commitment to ensuring our disabled athletes receive the same priority as our able bodied Olympics team.

“That isn’t happening and the minimal coverage given to this fantastic event by commercial broadcasters simply further enforces the need for a public service broadcaster in New Zealand.

“As a commercial broadcaster Sky, and its free to air channel Prime, are constrained by the commercial analysis of previous Paralympics viewing figures.

“This is simply a fact of commercial broadcasting. Without a provider whose imperative is defined by public interest rather than financial gain New Zealanders are missing out on not only the Paralympics but a range of content that simply isn’t ‘worth’ screening.

“The athletes and the fans back home deserve this event to be given equal status to the Olympics and the only way that is going to happen is through a public service broadcaster,” said Clare Curran.
ends

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