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Union says Speaker should scrap satire ban

June 26, 2007
Media Release

Journalists’ union says Speaker should scrap satire ban

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union is calling on the Speaker to reconsider proposed changes to television coverage of the House that would place restrictions on ‘satire, ridicule and denigration’ by broadcast media.

The union, which represents New Zealand’s journalists, wrote to the Speaker today to express its concerns.

EPMU Print & Media Industry Council convenor Brent Edwards says journalists will strongly oppose the changes.

“Journalists are deeply concerned about the proposed restrictions on ‘satire, ridicule and denigration’. This is clearly an infringement on the freedom of the press and its intent would have a chilling effect on television coverage of Parliament.

“As the union which represents journalists we cannot stand by and let the proposals go unchallenged. Satire has a long and honourable tradition in political commentary and any attempt to shut it down will be strongly opposed.”

The union is also concerned by the specific reference to contempt if the rules are breached.

“This can only be seen as an unacceptable attempt to intimidate the media. Having a free news media is an essential part of a healthy democracy, and that means accepting that sometimes the media gets it wrong,” says Edwards.

The EPMU represents more than 5000 print and media workers nationwide.


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