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Māori women call media to account


23 August 2012

Māori women call media to account

Māori women’s group Te Wharepora Hou is calling for media to stop prioritising negative stories about Māori. The women highlight the recent multiple attack on Te Taura Whiri, The Māori Language Commission, by the Dominion Post as misrepresentative and offensive. The Māori women say that Thursday’s article headed “Work Rift Ahead of Cocaine Conviction” is a clearly manipulated piece. They state that the article makes a highly unsubstantiated link between a previous staff member being convicted overseas (which they say in itself is being challenged) and that person’s employment with Te Taura Whiri. Te Wharepora Hou member Marama Davidson says "We consider such reporting to be gutter media. This ongoing misrepresentation of Māori contributes to the racism and discrimination in our communities."

Te Wharepora Hou asserts that the involvement of Māori Television in such misrepresentation must also be challenged. They maintain that the Māori Television news programme Te Kaea simply upheld this unacceptable media approach when it recently made groundless accusations also against Te Taura Whiri. Māori Television has all but admitted their original story was factually incorrect and has yet to apologise to those concerned. They ask that Māori Television preserves its space to provide a Kaupapa Māori analysis of issues rather than reproducing the same racist propaganda of the Dominion Post and other media.

Marama Davidson also draws attention to the recent media analysis done by Whariki Research Group entitled “Māori News is Bad News”. The research affirms the ability of Maori-language news bulletins to deliver a wider range of stories about Māori. In contrast the study shows that English-language media prioritises violence and criminality for Māori stories. Davidson conveys that there are countless other story choices that show Māori in a more rounded manner, as with the reporting of Pākehā New Zealanders. She states “While we might expect mainstream media to employ a harmful agenda, we have seen Māori news bulletins do better than what they have done recently. All media, especially Māori media, can play a part in building a healthier society and should choose to do so.”

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