Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Coverage of lobbyists questioned

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Coverage of lobbyists questioned

Lobby groups are being given an “easy ride” by the New Zealand media with few being identified specifically as lobbyists except by their organisation’s name, says a Massey University media researcher.

School of Journalism tutor Fran Tyler says it is important for the public to know the identity of paid agents are who are influencing the country’s policy makers.

“Commonly called lobbyists, they are given preferential treatment by both legislators and journalists. Unlike many other Western countries, New Zealand does not require political lobbyists to register, even when given special access into Parliament buildings,” she says.

Some sections of the media have now dropped their normal style of identifying sources when lobby groups are the subject of coverage, she says.

Ms Tyler is presenting her findings at the Journalism Education Association of New Zealand conference hosted by Massey University tomorrow, and says up to 90 per cent of printed news stories about lobby groups don’t identify them as such, or as advocates for particular organisations ranging from Federated Farmers, to ASH and Family First.

“This has an important implication for democracy, as without this information the public may not be aware of the motives behind these groups.”

For three months Ms Tyler monitored New Zealand’s largest news websites stuff.co.nz and nzherald.co.nz. In that time, only ten per cent of the 800 news stories on the two sites that referenced lobby groups used any kind of label to describe the groups’ relationship to lobbying.

Federated Farmers were mentioned 273 times in that period, but they were only identified as a lobby group on three occasions. Various branches of business group the Chamber of Commerce were only described as a lobby group four times from more than 70 mentions on the respective websites, while Family First were only identified one out of ten times on the NZ Herald website and two out of six times on the Fairfax Media-run stuff.co.nz.

“The results reveal there is a failure on the part of the media in New Zealand to inform audiences about the nature of the news making groups they are giving coverage to,” Ms Tyler says.

“Without this clear description the public is left in the dark and not being given the information to make well-informed decisions.”


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Demise Of The Tokyo Olympics

As the Covid vaccines roll out around the world, the Tokyo Olympics are looming as a major test of when (and whether) something akin to global normality can return – to international travel, to global tourism, to professional sport and to mass gatherings of human beings. Currently though, it looks like a forlorn hope that Japan will be able to host the Olympics in late July. Herd immunity on any significant scale seems possible only by December 2021, at the earliest... More>>


New Zealand Government: Cook Islanders To Resume Travel To New Zealand

The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such ... More>>


A New Year: No politicians at Rātana in 2021

Annual celebrations at Rātana pā will be different this year, amid a decision to hold an internal hui for church adherents only… More>>


Government: Pre-Departure Testing Extended To All Passengers To New Zealand

To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. More>>


Covid: Border Exception for 1000 International Students

The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began....More>>





InfoPages News Channels