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NZ MPs Outlaw Satire of Parliament

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the head-and-shoulders-only dept.

Censorship 282

mernil writes "New Zealand's Parliament has voted itself far-reaching powers to control satire and ridicule of MPs in Parliament, attracting a storm of media and academic criticism. The new standing orders, voted in last month, concern the use of images of Parliamentary debates, and make it a contempt of Parliament for broadcasters or anyone else to use footage of the chamber for 'satire, ridicule or denigration.' The new rules are actually more liberal than the previous ones, but the threat of felony contempt is new."

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282 comments

Daily Show (2, Insightful)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030369)

This means that Jon Stewart would get pretty low ratings in NZ - wouldn't he?

Re:Daily Show (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030387)

No, it means he wouldn't have a show.

Re:Daily Show (2, Interesting)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030471)

Well his show last Wednesday/Thursday certainly wouldn't as it attacked this very policy by insulting the New Zealand government using their footage.

In this case, perspective is useful. (4, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030637)

What New Zealanders say about themselves is often much stronger than anything Jon Stewart says. Stories about New Zealand on Slashdot all seem to give the impression that N.Z. is a country like the United States. Actually, only 4 million people live there, so it is more like a city in the U.S. than the U.S. itself.

Anyhow, apparently some New Zealanders think that N.Z. has an exaggerated self-importance. So they joke about their country. For example: Adult Sheep Finder [adultsheepfinder.com] "New Zealand's #1 Internet Dating Site". (The site is partly a reference to the fact that raising sheep is the main agricultural activity in New Zealand; although there are only 4 million people, there are 60 million sheep.)

I doubt the N.Z. parliament will stop "satire, ridicule or denigration". In fact, the idea is absurd. Remember, the story Alice in wonderland [wikipedia.org] was partly a parody [victorianweb.org] of the English king and queen, when saying negative things about the monarchy was illegal. That was in England, and it is sometimes said that New Zealanders are "more English than the English".

The site linked is NSFW if your co-workers are ... (3, Interesting)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030763)

I forgot to say that the linked web site is NSFW -- if your co-workers are sheep.

Also, the result of the N.Z. parliament making criticism illegal will be that the criticism becomes much, much worse. Tthe old rules were not followed, either. Quote from the article: "However, the old rules were frequently breached, as the media often used wider-angled shots or published photographs of MPs napping, reading comics, eating lollies, and in one notable case, giving another MP the finger."

Hmmmm. (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031431)

I wonder if USA would allow a reporter or somebody to be extradited from here to NZ over this? It goes against the very grain that we use to stand for. But with us asking for other countries to send us those who have committed IP issues, would we hand stewart over if he continues to lampoon NZ?

Free Speech Vs. NZ? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030381)

How far reaching is this? It seems from the article that this is "guilt by association" as well. FTA: "The rules apply any to broadcasts or rebroadcasts in any medium."

Re:Free Speech Vs. NZ? (1)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030429)

Presumably it's as far reaching as the NZ courts are, so Youtube posts by Americans who procured copies should be safe enough.

Funny thing though, is that the media has already stated it won't blindly comply with them. It'll be interesting to see how far they go though.

Re:Free Speech Vs. NZ? (5, Informative)

dufus4 (581604) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030497)

It's not even the courts - it's treated as a contempt of Parliament, so it goes before the Privileges Committee (i.e. a select committee of MPs).

That said, it's very unlikely that anything of the sort will come of it. It's just not worth the trouble for them, especially since the media are so pissed about it now.

Re:Free Speech Vs. NZ? (4, Informative)

delt0r (999393) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030545)

As a NZ'er I can assure you that the media at large will completely ignore this rule. Most of the papers have a regular comic making fun of the parliament (Its easy to do, since they are all twits), they won't drop that. Police and Judges will not want to waste there time with it either. It will be unenforceable because everyone who does the enforcing enjoys a good laugh too. Especially at the current government.

Re:Free Speech Vs. NZ? (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030559)

laws are never made to be ignored nor unenforcable. they will pull this one out when it suits them mark my words.

Re:Free Speech Vs. NZ? (1)

delt0r (999393) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030709)

You are right. We should not rely on selective enforcement of laws. In this case, I suspect that it will get "struck down" or whatever later via some back bencher looking for a cause.

Re:Free Speech Vs. NZ? (1)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031571)

Not sure about that . . . it sure looks like the US' current immigration laws are indeed ignored and unenforceable. Any serious attempt at enforcement nowadays results in screams of racism.

not really surprising (-1, Flamebait)

jacquesm (154384) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030409)

The Australian government takes itself far too serious. Australia has some of the most draconian privacy / internet laws on the book
and the populace does not doe much about it because it doesn't involve them directly (yet). Little by little freedoms are eroded.

There was a nice analogy once about this, I don't know if I read it here or not but someone said that if you drop a frog in a pot of
really hot water it will jump out immediately. If you drop a frog in a pot of cold water and then slowly raise the temperature you
can boil the frog. Not sure if it is a real experiment (it would be pretty cruel on the frog) but it makes the point nicely why
you should not allow any 'creep' on issues like this.

fortunately this would never happen in Europe or the USA ;)

Re:not really surprising (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030419)

Um.. New Zealand is not apart of Australia....

Re:not really surprising (5, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030421)

The Australian government takes itself far too serious

I won't disagree with you on that, but what does this have to do with Australia?

Re:not really surprising (5, Funny)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030483)

It's not surprising that he doesn't know the difference between NZ and AUS, considering that he's Norwegian. Or Belgian. Same diff. (I did a whois on zakata.com.)

It's NEW ZEALAND YOU ASSHAT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030433)

See subject. Can you even read?

Re:not really surprising (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030447)

Never say never.... Its already the United States of Aristocracy now. Unless your a multimillionaire, an oil or energy company, or a fundi zealot institution good luck "lobbying" or "protecting" your rights here...

Re:not really surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030611)

Sigh, when do Americans learn the difference between Aristocracy and Nobility?

Re:not really surprising (3, Insightful)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030457)

The Australian government takes itself far too serious. Australia has some of the most draconian privacy / internet laws on the book and the populace does not doe much about it because it doesn't involve them directly (yet). Little by little freedoms are eroded.
Uh, dude, couple of points.

First, despite what the evidence found around Bondi Beach might suggest, New Zealand is not officially part of Australia.

Second, draconian privacy laws are a good thing. That would mean harsh penalties for companies breaching individuals' right to privacy. I don't think this is what you meant... But it's actually pretty accurate.

Third, on the internet laws... If you host a porn site in Australia, and someone complains, and the complaint is upheld, your site can be taken down. You are completely free to host the same content outside Australia. Australians are free to view the content wherever it's hosted. That, really, is about it.

(Until last November I was head of tech support at a small Aussie ISP, so I have some familiarity with the laws involved.)

Re:not really surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030517)

Third, on the internet laws... If you host a porn site in Australia, and someone complains, and the complaint is upheld, your site can be taken down. You are completely free to host the same content outside Australia. Australians are free to view the content wherever it's hosted. That, really, is about it.

Actually I'm australian and you might want to read up on what happens. Here ISPs can take any of your details and use them how you like. The government can ban any sites it wants to, based on any content, and it is up to ISPs to do so. Doesn't matter if it isn't technically possible, the ISPs must comply and if they fail they're shut down by constant recursive fines. This week it's government satire, next week it'll be criticism of the government, the week after that nobody will be able to mention the name "haneef" without their packets going missing in the ether.

And the worst bit is ISPs aren't legally allowed to say a damn thing about it, which is why you'll find they're so quite about it.

Re:not really surprising (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030543)

Your understanding of Australian law seems to have come only via Slashdot headlines - whether you're an Australian or not.

And it still has nothing to do with this article.

MOD Parent DOWN (5, Funny)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030487)

Its NEW ZEALAND not Australia you moron. Look at a fucking map.

Sorry, I have a headache.

Re:MOD Parent DOWN (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030633)

Its NEW ZEALAND not Australia you moron. Look at a fucking map.


Ok smartass. I've looked at the map, where is this "New Zealand" you're talking about?
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thum b/a/a5/Map_of_USA_with_state_names.svg/959px-Map_o f_USA_with_state_names.svg.png [wikimedia.org]

NZ is a state of Australia (1)

labnet (457441) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030995)

Its NEW ZEALAND not Australia you moron.
You do realise that New Zealand is a state of Australia, in the Australian constitution; it just has not been ratified. http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/general/constitution/ preamble.htm [aph.gov.au] see section 6

Re:NZ is a state of Australia (2, Interesting)

Remusti (1131423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031177)

That is interesting, considering we became a seperate colony in 1840 (no longer administered as part of New South Wales).

Wikipedia tells me also that New Zealand decided against joining the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, and instead changed from being a colony to a separate "dominion" in 1907, equal in status to Australia and Canada.

Re:not really surprising (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030927)

You might want to check your geography. To help you understand find photos, preferably nude, of Helen Clark and John Howard. Compare and contrast.

Re:not really surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20031037)

You might want to check your geography. To help you understand find photos, preferably nude, of Helen Clark and John Howard. Compare and contrast.
I'd hate to think what little difference between them there might be. That ain't no woman! It's a man, man!

Pretty big difference, actually... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20031171)

Helen Clark has balls; John Howard doesn't.

Re:not really surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030935)

The Australian government takes itself far too serious.

In 2015, when the Kiwi campaign of terror commences with a second-hand nuke being smuggled into Sydney Harbour onboard a sheep carrier, everyone will be asking the same question - "why do they hate us?"

Your post pretty much answers their question.

Huh? (5, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030425)

``make it a contempt of Parliament for broadcasters or anyone else to use footage of the chamber for 'satire, ridicule or denigration.''

Huh? I thought the whole point of Parliament was to be ridiculed and denigrated?

Re:Huh? (1)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030455)

"Huh? I thought the whole point of Parliament was to be ridiculed and denigrated"

he he, you got that right, sadly some people take satire and satirical cartoons way too seriously.

Re:Huh? (4, Funny)

don.g (6394) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030501)

You are suggesting that Parliament may not in fact always be a place of balanced, courteous discussion and a decision-making process that involves all stakeholders in an attempt to achieve an equitable solution agreeable to all?

Re:Huh? (1)

JudgeSlash (823985) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031385)

Perhaps you should have been modded insightful. It would be quite fitting to use their own law against them for the tragic satire that is most parliamentary debates.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20031127)

Parent should be modded as insightful, not funny.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20031145)

I'll make fun of your Parliament if you make fun of our President.

Unfortunately, I don't feel like making fun of your country as it looks so much more free than ours...

Old News (5, Informative)

Snad (719864) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030427)

Good lord, this is very old news.

The local TV stations have already said they'll ignore it [tv3.co.nz] and certain politicians have already been backing down from their high horse.

It is unlikely this "law" will have any actual effect on the satirisation, ridicule, or other general highlighting of how usless our MPs actually are.

Re:Old News (-1, Redundant)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030755)

Satirisation and ridicule are useless and unconstructive. Valid criticism in any democratic state should not be done with insult to the human dignity.

Insulting people is not equal to criticism.

Re:Old News (1)

Andrzej Sawicki (921100) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030885)

Satirisation and ridicule are useless and unconstructive.
I agree on the unconstructive part. Not useless, though. Don't know about you, but I consider making people laugh to be a good thing. Mostly. ;)

Valid criticism in any democratic state should not be done with insult to the human dignity.
Too bad politicians don't know that.

Re:Old News (4, Insightful)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030901)

> Satirisation and ridicule are useless and unconstructive. Valid criticism in any democratic state should not be done with insult to the human dignity.

Hey, napkin-arse, guess what? You're so wrong with your statement, it almost overflows into the "Correct statements" category! Were you by chance on a re-education trip to Russia, China, or North Korea recently? That would certainly explain you idiotic attitude to the whole "freedom of expression" thingie, the whole concept of which has apparently has been erased from your memory in the Paycheck/Spotless Mind style.

Even if satire is useless, which it is not, people in a free society are expected to be free to satirize as much as they want, even if some dumbasses in the parliament (or on /.) think it's mean to them.

> Insulting people is not equal to criticism.

No, but a lot fun can be had when both are done at the same time, and there ain't a goddamn thing you can do about it!

Re:Old News (2, Insightful)

Teun (17872) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031501)

And satire is not equal to insult.
In politics ridicule is often not what the other side makes of an issue, it's more often what someone makes of himself or his issue.

Throughout history and in many nations and cultures there has been a very constructive place for satire, quite a few bad politicians have been toppled by the satire (and ridicule) their actions provoked.

Its still legal (2, Informative)

Bazar (778572) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030859)

Just to clarify something
Its still legal to make satire, and ridicule politician. You just can't use footage taken from inside the Beehive (The New Zealand parliament)

So making fun of them, while using footage of them outside is perfectly legal, and i belive thats how the Australians have adapted the most part.

I am however greatly bothered by the fact that this is what i consider abuse of power, and rather nasty form of censorship of the actions of our goverment.

probably not aimed at TV stations (1)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031195)

I suspect that laws like this aren't aimed at TV stations, who really have never been able to afford to antagonize or expose politicians too much. I suspect laws like this are aimed at people publishing things on YouTube: viral videos and all that. It may be designed to make people think twice about making fun of their politicians.

Bye bye, free speech... (0)

JavaBear (9872) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030443)

Goodbye to our old and dear friend, Free speech, it was nice knowing you and you left us before it was your time.
But at least you did have a good long run.
May you rest in peace.

Creativity required... (1)

Bazman (4849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030453)

The media will just have to do something like they did during the Michael Jackson trial - get a bunch of political lookalikes, build a parliament set, and then re-enact the day's proceedings. And then they can start having real fun with the politicians...

Or build a CGI parliament. Then they could release a FPS version of the parliament and you could run round and blast your MPs to death with a BFG.

Ultra Vires (2, Informative)

Jerry Rivers (881171) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030465)

Attempts to muzzle the press or media have been tried before in Commonwealth countries (such as in Alberta in 1934) but those types of laws are usually refused royal assent because they are ultra vires, or beyond the powers of the government to enact such laws. In this case however, there is no legislation involved, only House rules which expire at end of the present session. So it appears they have effectively found, a way, however temporary, to do an end-run around the Bill of Rights. It will be interesting to see if other parliamentary democracies try - and get away with - the same tactic.

Re:Ultra Vires (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030739)

Attempts to muzzle the press or media have been tried before in Commonwealth countries (such as in Alberta in 1934) but those types of laws are usually refused royal assent because they are ultra vires, or beyond the powers of the government to enact such laws.

Actually Alberta is not a Commonwealth country, it is a province within one and I believe it was 1935 and the legislation only required papers to print government rebuttals to stories which they ran (so it was bad but not incredibly so). It might have been beyond the power of the provincial government but would probably not be beyond the power of the federal government at the time just like it would not be beyond the power of the UK government. It's true there might be severe political repercussions for a government which tried to severely curtain freedom of the press but it would be legal with royal assent - it's effectively a parliamentary dictatorship.

Have the people in government gone insane? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030495)

How is it that a person can grow up in a society of people, enter government, and then vote to enact a law that so evidently goes against the freedoms of that society?

I understand that people in government feel some shame about their corruption and dishonesty, and would like to keep as much of their activities secret as possible, but have they lost all conscience and connection with the people? Also, do they not imagine how making certain laws might make it easier to expand the laws to the point of oppression of all?

I am amazed and scared by the ideas that have it in to law in countries that I have long considered as ADVANCING freedom! I used to regard the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, etc, as promoting freedom and democracy around the world, BY EXAMPLE. Now the theme seems to be "spy on everyone" and "no anonymity" for the citizens, but "forbid criticism" and "enforce secrecy" for the governments.

Re:Have the people in government gone insane? (2, Informative)

Remusti (1131423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031105)

Please don't get your facts wrong regarding our government. I don't like them very much, but fair is fair after all.

Seeing one issue and lumping us together with other governments which have extremely repressive laws is uncalled for.

There is no forbidding of criticism in the law. What is being banned is images taken within parliament being used for satire. Criticism of goverment policies and actions is very different. If you lived here, you would have seen the hours of satire (MP's napping, pulling fingers, swearing at each other...) which was shown both before and after the law came into affect. And what is the punishment for breaking this law? They'll ban your cameras from parliament for a few weeks. Hardly even a slap on the wrist. ALL of our major media outlets have openly said they will ignore the law, and already have.

We have no laws which relate to your "spy on everyone, no anonymity for citizens, enforced secrecy for goverment" view of us. In fact, leadership in the opposition party changes very quickly whenever the leader starts talking about allowing things like nuclear powered vessels into our waters (see Bill English, Don Brash) . There are things we in New Zealand feel very strongly about, and the political parties back down very quickly when they come up against us.

Who is going to police it? (2, Interesting)

marcovje (205102) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030519)

(obligatory 1984 reference)

Who is going to police it? The newly set up Ministry of Truth?

Re:Who is going to police it? (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030819)

I think that would be more the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Love. On the other hand, I don't think New Zealand is even in Oceania[1], much less in Airstrip One, so things may be a bit different there.

---
[1] Yes, the use of "Oceania" to refer to the Americas and the Brittish isles _is_ confusing. What we call
        "Oceania" in the modern world would almost certainly be part of Eastasia in Orwell's world.

Re:Who is going to police it? (1)

novakreo (598689) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030925)

On the other hand, I don't think New Zealand is even in Oceania[1], much less in Airstrip One, so things may be a bit different there.

---
[1] Yes, the use of "Oceania" to refer to the Americas and the Brittish isles _is_ confusing. What we call
"Oceania" in the modern world would almost certainly be part of Eastasia in Orwell's world.
Um, no [wikipedia.org].

a sign of weakening democracy (5, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030525)

By coincidence, there was a programme on TV yesterday about the origins of democracy (in Athens, 400BC). One point that came across strongly was that when democracy is strong, states are willing to put up with more criticism.

As democracy weakens, states clamp down on their critics and introduce more extreme punishments for transgressors.

This sounds like a good example of this kind of action - sadly it seems to be getting more common across the world, not just in NZ.

Re:a sign of weakening democracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20031597)

What is today called democracy in ancient Athens would be called elected dictatorship.

Hmmmm (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030549)

I'm still trying to figure out how we could blame this on Bush...

Re:Hmmmm (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030617)

and white people, don't forget it's always the fault of white people.

Redundant laws are bad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030575)

Surely the anti-bestiality-porn laws already prevent TV networks from using footage of the NZ parliament, in any manner?

Most local New Zealand media sickens me (5, Informative)

jesterzog (189797) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030615)

As a New Zealander I've found this very disappointing. Normally I associate New Zealand as having a very open and non-corrupt national government with an open information policy (written into law through New Zealand's Official Information Act), and without too many layers of bureaucracy. I'd much rather have an environment where the media is free to take what pictures they like. To put it in context though, the main section of New Zealand's television media, which is most directly affected by this, really is hopeless. Personally I think the un-professionalism of many of the journalists has really encouraged parliament to add some limitations, appropriate or not.

There are only two major providers of television news in New Zealand -- one state-owned (TV1) and another private (TV3, owned by CanWest). Neither actually invests in quality journalism any more. They invest in news that can double as entertainment to sell commercials in a prime-time entertainment slot. The way they advertise their own news programmes makes this obvious, and on television there's no alternative. TV3, in particular, spends a lot of time trying to stress how much better it is than TV1. Any story that has anything to do with that is promoted to the front of its bulletin.

Most reporters are young and inexperienced, with the experienced journalists having either lost their jobs, retired or moved overseas for better opportunities. A lot of reports seem to be more about making sure people know who the reporter is and adding superlatives, annoying clichés, metaphors, and background music that just distract from the actual information. The only reason I bother to watch locally produced television news programmes in New Zealand these days (with a few exceptions) is to get some pictures, but I cringe at the commentary that comes with them. Many of those who are left have an attitude where they like to claim they're hugely important, but in general they're not actually providing quality journalism to back it up. I've found it quite sickening watching this whole thing play out, because the media that's kicking up such a storm isn't actually demonstrating that it's worthy of the right it's wanting.

I'm quite amazed when I flick over to BBC and see something like Hard Talk [bbc.co.uk], which is just amazing in comparison to what we have locally produced. I really wish we could have that kind of quality in a local production, but I suspect the country just isn't large enough to have the resources for a reliable media.

If you are in New Zealand, try listening to MediaWatch [radionz.co.nz] on National Radio (or stream it if you prefer). Personally I think it's one of the most insightful commentaries on the New Zealand media available. (The show on 1st July actually covered this issue.)

Re:Most local New Zealand media sickens me (3, Interesting)

nickgrieve (87668) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030717)

Hear hear!

I have had to stop watching the 6pm news. All it does is make me angry, I end up exasperated near yelling at the screen "This is not news!!, of all thats going on in the world today,.. you give us fluff!"

Re:Most local New Zealand media sickens me (4, Interesting)

michaelnz (701047) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031261)

I'm an American who has been living in New Zealand nearly 4 years now. I watch a fair bit of television here and I can say have lived in both the states and here that New Zealand television news is many times better than American TV. There's a bit of fluff and the a few annoying personality driven pieces but compared to American local and national news it's amazingly well done. Both TVNZ and TV3 compete to have news that's informative and entertaining and generally they do well. Stories aren't limited to national concerns and international news is featured prominently, something that never happens in the states.

Things aren't as bad as they could be, trust me, we've got it good here compared to the states.

Re:Most local New Zealand media sickens me (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031459)

As a New Zealander living in the USA (3yrs), I agree with everything you've said.

Re:Most local New Zealand media sickens me (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030865)

> There are only two major providers of television news in New Zealand -- one state-owned (TV1) and
> another private (TV3, owned by CanWest). Neither actually invests in quality journalism any more.

Wait, did you just use the phrase "quality journalism" in the same paragraph with "television news"?

Okay, I'm not from that part of the world, so maybe in New Zealand this juxtaposition makes some kind of sense that I can't understand, but around here (Ohio), putting those two concepts together is just absurd. Actually, just using the phrase "quality journalism" is a bit on the absurd side all by itself.

One National Party News. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030877)

Remember when we used to joke about TVNZ news as being "BBC One News" due to it being heavily Brit-oriented? How I miss those naive and innocent days! It all turned so sinister.

Ever since Prime Minister Helen Clark made the hideous error of criticising the NZ$800,000-per-year Saint Judy Bailey was paid by the state broadcaster for reading from a teleprompter and making 'News Faces', TVNZ has been out to get her. (And Labour out of power.)

The disgusting and overtly pro-National Party stance TVNZ took during the last election was unforgivable. They were in effect campaigning for them. And they are still doing it.

Big Money Corporate Media...gotta love it. Not.

Re:Most local New Zealand media sickens me (1)

kiwimade (891424) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030907)

Thanks for the heads up on MediaWatch, I'll check it out asap.

And I agree with your other comments. Over the last few years I've watched our two main media stations fire experienced reporters, while the remaining continue to produce stories filled with sourceless assertions. And as far as pictures go, most stories these days are just the reporter talking into the screen. I stopped watching One News because I got sick of seeing that girl with too much mascara filling the camera.

The media here is reporting more and more "meta media" where stories are primarily about themselves. When this satire law became news last month, all the stations spent a good portion of their TV time over the following WEEKS talking about it and themselves.

A tip for NZers: Try to watch Prime's news at 5.30. At least they only have 30 minutes, so most of the filth stories are filtered out.

Re:Most local New Zealand media sickens me (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031065)

There are only two major providers of television news in New Zealand -- one state-owned (TV1) and another private (TV3, owned by CanWest). Neither actually invests in quality journalism any more. They invest in news that can double as entertainment to sell commercials in a prime-time entertainment slot. The way they advertise their own news programmes makes this obvious, and on television there's no alternative. TV3, in particular, spends a lot of time trying to stress how much better it is than TV1. Any story that has anything to do with that is promoted to the front of its bulletin.

Most reporters are young and inexperienced, with the experienced journalists having either lost their jobs, retired or moved overseas for better opportunities. A lot of reports seem to be more about making sure people know who the reporter is and adding superlatives, annoying clichés, metaphors, and background music that just distract from the actual information.


This EXACTLY mirrors the situation in bulgaria (we have two private TV-s NTV and BTV, and one state: Channel 1, but that's all the difference).

Looks like the market in a small country simply provokes this kind of TV today. I've always been amused how people say "I've stopped watching TV completely". I mean: you can't stop watching TV completely right?.. Wrong. As I also did 4-5 months ago.

It's a mix of stupid game shows, women talk shows, cheap soap operas, and pseudo-news (indeed they keep putting their journalist prizes and tv rating statistics in the news every second week. It's hilariously stupid), not worth watching.

Re:Most local New Zealand media sickens me (1)

DavoMan (759653) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031389)

I have actually spotted car advertisements in 3 news, presented as articles. I couldn't believe my eyes.

Re:Most local New Zealand media sickens me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20031399)

I'm in Canada and Canwest sucks here, too.

A TV station and both of the only daily newspapers in our city are from Canwest, also. Talk about media concentration - the editorial pages in the newspapers aren't even written by the editors, they are written *for* the editors by the owners of Canwest.

Canwest sucks donkey balls.

Re:Most local New Zealand media sickens me (1)

ABCC (861543) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031631)

Wow, Hardtalk?! I find that one of the most dispicable/vile propaganda shows on the BBC. Their questioning goes right along 'the party line'. It even follows an amusing pattern: people who are critical of the government or the powers that be have their credibility undermined in the opening few minutes, are allowed to attempt to get their point across albeit whilst being heckled with the same vacuous agitprop questions in the middle section the show. The final segment involves summing up the conversation whilst repeating the same pathetic criticism again no matter whether or not those criticisms have been thoroughly debunked by the interviewee. If the interviewee threatens to pull the rug out from under the host with whatever is the realistic answer they'll swiftly change the topic or throw in some negative references. In the case of them interviewing a government official or some such it's the exact opposite. They'll ask a few mildly criticial questions, the most caustic of which will be about halfway through, but you can guarantee the host will do their damndest to avoid asking the one or two questions that everyone would really like to be asked. Softtalk would be a better name for it in this case. Hardtalk is glitzy but pandering agitprop that not critical/quality reporting, far more so even than regular BBC reporting. The way it's presented makes it quite insidious, all I can suggest is you try to catch an episode where you know the subject matter and person being interviewed well and you'll see what I mean.

Are you sure this law is legal? (2, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030659)

It sounds rather satirical itself. The mere mention of it could get you locked up.

Re:Are you sure this law is legal? (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030881)

> It sounds rather satirical itself. The mere mention of it could get you locked up.

Upon a closer reading, it's not as extreme as it sounds. If I understand correctly, they're not telling you what you can say about Parliament or what political opinions you can express. They're just controlling what you can do with real footage taken inside their actual Parliament.

It's still pretty dumb, but not as repressive as the raw headline makes it sound.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20030685)

After reading about some of the nonsense going on in other countries lately living in the US doesn't seem so bad anymore :)

News? (2, Insightful)

gowen (141411) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030723)

This is news? Handy rule of thumb: If you're three days behind the Daily Show in covering a news item, you've probably lost the right to describe that story as "news".

From the Horses Mouth... (5, Informative)

dickko (610386) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030731)

Here's the actual link to the order in question:
http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Debates/Debates/ b/2/0/48HansD_20070628_00000893-Standing-Orders-Se ssional.htm [parliament.nz]

Basically, this is a sessional order, and will be reviewed after the next election, if not sooner. Based on current popular opinion, it won't last...

Methinks this was introduced because, as others have pointed out, it's much easier for New Zealand's TV stations to fill the 10 minutes between ad breaks with name-calling and napping politicians than it is to actually do some proper journalism. Seriously, the journalism here is so pathetic; with this order in place, TV3's "political editor", Duncan Garner, is screwed.

Also, what Jon Stewart did on the Daily show, as far as I can tell, isn't in breach of the order. Satire of the politician is fine, however showing images of them picking their nose isn't...

Just to Godwin this thread... (2, Interesting)

Hannah E. Davis (870669) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030735)

I'm presently in the middle of reading an English translation of Mein Kampf. Earlier tonight, I got to the part where Hitler talks about the dangers of "freedom of the press" -- he rants at length about the need to control it completely, and to stop it from poisoning the state with lies and digging up dirt on even the most noble politicians.

Needless to say, while I am well aware that NZ can hardly be compared to Nazi Germany, I found this news quite disturbing.

He's actually right... sort of. (3, Insightful)

jonadab (583620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030915)

It's true that a free press _is_ dangerous. He was right about that much. It causes all kinds of trouble.

However, a free press is nonetheless less dangerous than a government that controls the press -- as he himself proved to anyone who was paying any attention whatever.

Contrmpt of parliament (2, Informative)

Timtheenchanted (899695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20030879)

This is all pretty meaningless as the vast majority of New Zealanders have nothing but contempt for parliament. The TV news organizations, including the state broadcaster, have indicated that they will ignore the legislation.

YouTube law (2, Interesting)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031187)

This sounds like a YouTube law. These politicians are scared of appearing in public with "macaca" and "tubes":

http://youtube.com/watch?v=r90z0PMnKwI [youtube.com]

http://youtube.com/watch?v=f99PcP0aFNE [youtube.com]

and the remixes...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=EtOoQFa5ug8 [youtube.com]

Well, one might say that sound bites are not a fair way of characterizing the entire work of a politician. I think they are right: with Stevens and Allen, the rotten attitudes seem to go far deeper.

Laws like this aren't going to be very effective, but these people are running scared.

Re:YouTube law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20031447)

This sounds like a YouTube law. These politicians are scared of appearing in public with "macaca" and "tubes"

Just wait until someone puts together a "New Zeland Stole The Precious Thing" flash.

So Glad I'm Livin' in the U.S.A. (1, Insightful)

flyneye (84093) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031235)

Wow,poor kiwis! I can't imagine life without the ability to contemptuously ridicule the Democraps and Republican'ts of the congress and senate.Or the right to own a gun in case we decide to revolt and start anew.

It may be influenced by recent BBC failures (2, Interesting)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031329)

Over here in the UK we have been finding out just how much our national broadcaster has been lying to us. In particular, how during the miners' strike in the 1980s the order of footage was reversed to suggest that miners had attacked police, when the exact opposite was the case (the police baton charged a picket line.) We are also finding out just how broadcasters and newspapers have been lying by association - deliberately waiting for a politician to, say, yawn and then using the picture to suggest that he was asleep during a debate. I am no fan of Bush but it is obvious that the US press does exactly the same, trying to get photos of him looking like a chimpanzee.

This is we the people being manipulated by professional liars. It seems to me that the NZ parliament has every right to demand that footage of its debates not be manipulated to suggest things that are not true.

Interestingly, a recent opinion poll in the UK suggested that younger people are less worried about media distortion of public events and people. I suggest this is a mistake. They should be. They have the least political power, the least share of the national wealth. Allowing people who are mostly rich, overentitled middle aged white males to foist lies on them by distorting apparent photographic footage suggests that, at the very least, compulsory reading of _1984_, the history of the 1920s in Russia and history of the 1930s in Germany should be considered.

So where can I get some? (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20031351)

So where can I get some footage from NZ? I have a sudden need to create some satire.
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