Corrections to lay complaint against TV3

July 30th, 2009 at 8:34 am by David Farrar

As first reported on the blogs, it looks like ′s access to in prison was not kosher. The Herald reports:

The Department will lay a formal complaint with TV3 after a journalist infiltrated a prison to speak to convicted murderer Clayton Weatherston. …

During the story, Ms Horwood spoke of visiting Weatherston in prison. The breach of security has broken strict Corrections Department rules, said Mike Martelli, general manager of the office of chief executive Barry Matthews.

He said all media interviews with prisoners require the approval of Mr Matthews. “No approval was given for a journalist from TV3′s 60 Minutes to interview prisoner Clayton Weatherston, nor was any approach made to the department requesting an interview.

And TV3 would surely know these rules.

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40 Responses to “Corrections to lay complaint against TV3”

  1. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    60 Minutes really is the epitome of gutter press. Last week was the Kirsten Dunst debacle, then Weatherston’s parents. This is just sensationalism at it’s worst, no integrity The “3″ button on the remote has been removed.

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  2. infused (636 comments) says:

    They probably dont care. They knew it was going to be a very watched segment/

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  3. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    perhaps TV3 felt too humiliated again interviewing actors wearing a hood and their face in shadow

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  4. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Its a well known ‘law o the jungle’, don’t sneak into a correctional institution & get heaps of national coverage, that and not dealing class A’s in the bogs of your media employer.

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  5. Cerium (22,784 comments) says:

    It must have been a calculated risk. What is so stupid about it is that it was unnecessary for the item. We already knew more than enough about Clayton, and this was about his parents which I thought was a reasonable enough approach and an opportunity for them to show their side of things.

    The prison visit seemed to be presented more as a “look what we can do” sort of drama, and “look what he gave us, aren’t we special”. Totally unnecessary.

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  6. Richard Hurst (755 comments) says:

    What is it with TV3? First we have Ian Campbell refusing give the police the identity of the war medal thief. Then we have TV3 camera’s with Mike King committing clear illegal trespass onto pig farm in the sow creates story and now TV3 breaks the law yet again by creeping into prison without permission to shove a microphone at a man who clearly is so mentally unstable that TV3 are just exploiting his madness for ratings.

    Do TV3 just regard the law as optional?

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  7. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    I’ll bet even money that it is revealed TV3 did let Corrections know and this matter is yet another Corrections stuff up.

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  8. Say Goodbye to Hollywood (555 comments) says:

    It’s John Campbell, Richard.

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  9. Glutaemus Maximus (2,207 comments) says:

    TV3 are stitch up merchants, and like the Pig Story. Those poor Beasts were alarmed by the film crew. Deliberately.

    This is just another cheap and nasty trick, from the Station that gave succour to Duncan ‘Ethical’ Garner. He really is shaping up to

    be a first class prat. Mr Lopsided.

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  10. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Ben, I would normally take your wager but with Barry “dribbling fiasco’ Matthews steerin’ the good ship SS Corrections, um, I will pass.

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  11. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Hmm, I don’t have much time for Duncan Garner and most of Campbell Live these days but surely it is exactly the duty of news media to get stories someone doesn’t want told – especially when the someone is a Government Department?

    State TV would never do it, which is exactly why we need privately owned media to push the boundaries.

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  12. Cerium (22,784 comments) says:

    Alan, this was not a story that needed telling. It added nothing to the main story. This looks like acting above the law for the sake of a bit of sensation and/or one-upmanship.

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  13. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Alan, I think State TV journos and producers would LOVE to do it, just their guv’na’s up the chain would shit a brick.

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  14. Pongo (371 comments) says:

    They werent doing anything that journalists around the world do, about time a few journos did a bit of work for a story.
    Stopped watching TV3 after a fawning Clark led hatchet job by that clown Garner, If it wasnt bolted to the wall I would have thrown the tv out of the window.

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  15. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Cerium, screw the law. Freedom of speech trumps it every time in my book excepting only the requirement to be truthful.

    Obviously the story “needed” telling – it had a big audience, and I think for good reasons – because the public are still struggling with the mystery of how/why that terrible thing happened.

    As to whether the prison interviews added anything – a reporter cannot know that until they’ve done the interview.

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  16. tvb (4,200 comments) says:

    They should look to see whether they have committed an offence under the Penal Institutions Act. Gaining access to a prisoner through deception would be a very serious matter if that is what they did.

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  17. Cerium (22,784 comments) says:

    “screw the law.”

    Tell Don Brash that.

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  18. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Hardly necessary, Cerium. The Labour Government ensured the law was well screwed in their favour anyway in that case.

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  19. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “screw the law.”

    Tell Louise Nicholas that.

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  20. Colonel Masters (420 comments) says:

    @ Richard Hurst

    They were also the ones convicted of running advertising on Sunday mornings…

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/television/news/article.cfm?c_id=339&objectid=10582114

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  21. paradigm (507 comments) says:

    screw the law. Freedom of speech trumps it every time

    Not if the person is in jail. Removal of some of your civil liberties for a period is the standard method of punishment in the western world.

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  22. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    “Removal of some of your civil liberties for a period is the standard method of punishment in the western world.”

    So what? Just because it is standard doesn’t mean it is right.

    Not that I’m saying criminals have a right to be published. I’m saying the media has a right to ferret out any story they want and publish it so long as it is truthful.

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  23. Bryan Spondre aka The Link Whore (225 comments) says:

    “He said all media interviews with prisoners require the approval of Mr Matthews.” Lets hope that someone at TV3 goes to jail for this: they can then get all the interviews with criminals that they want.

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  24. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    ”Lets hope that someone at TV3 goes to jail for this”

    That’s just silly. You’ll have to find a law to hang a prosecution on, not a Corrections Department rule.

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  25. MT_Tinman (2,985 comments) says:

    Personally I think it’s a breath of fresh air seeing a member of the slime actually working to get a story rather than just reworking press releases or simply manufacturing the “news” .

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  26. paradigm (507 comments) says:

    I’m saying the media has a right to ferret out any story they want and publish it so long as it is truthful.

    I’m curious, would you extend that to breaking into a private citizen’s residence in pursuit of a story?

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  27. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Possibly. It would obviously depend on the story and whether that revealed serious wrong-doing of some kind.

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  28. Lawrence Hakiwai (119 comments) says:

    From my reading of Mark Jenning’s comments in the paper this morning it looks like he doesn’t understand the rules for journalists speaking with prisoners.

    Alison Horwood may have filled out the right forms to see Weatherston, but only as a private citizen.

    The rules are different for the media and she needed to apply for and be granted written permission from the head of Corrections.

    It’s hardly the crime of the century but unless the light dawns and they say sorry, I’d hate to be the next TV3 journo seeking a permission for anything from the Department of Corrections.

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  29. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    “I’d hate to be the next TV3 journo seeking a permission for anything from the Department of Corrections”

    Tut tut – wasn’t a threat like that just what Garrett got hauled up for?

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  30. kino flo (81 comments) says:

    Oh no, Jennings would have known exactly what was required. In this instance, the reporter involved, who has decades of reporting of crime, court and corrections behind her, was produced by one of the most senior journalists on contract to TV3. They would have been entirely aware of what was allowed, and what wasn’t. They were trying to skirt around the existing regulations. They got caught.

    Frankly, there was very little that was new in the programme. That might be why it rated so badly.

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  31. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    “They got caught”

    Sillier and sillier. They announced what they had done on their programme and that is somehow getting caught?

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  32. Cerium (22,784 comments) says:

    “there was very little that was new in the programme.”

    I think most of the item focusing on the family was reasonable and worthwhile. Quite moving. Spoilt because they couldn’t resist tacking a stunt on the end.

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  33. burt (7,797 comments) says:

    You would think that prisons would have some for of checking on who the visitors are when they enter the prison wouldn’t you ;-)

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  34. Bryan Spondre aka The Link Whore (225 comments) says:

    Alan – “That’s just silly. You’ll have to find a law to hang a prosecution on, not a Corrections Department rule.”

    True it would have to be a criminal act however it would be nice if the hubris of television was challenged.

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  35. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    Bryan, the way to challenge it is publicly to refute and ridicule their arguments and stories, not to jail their reporters.

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  36. Colonel Masters (420 comments) says:

    Alison Horwood probably thought she was a household name and that they would just *know* she was a famous reporter.

    (Er, I had never heard of her before this blew up.)

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  37. Rex Widerstrom (5,255 comments) says:

    TV3 deserve criticism for giving more oxygen to someone who didn’t need it and who was perversely enjoying the notoriety his infamy was bringing him. But that’s a bad editorial decision, not something that ought to be a matter of law. And we can readily punish bad editorial decisions with the “off” button.

    But when Barry “Everything I Touch Turns To Shit” Matthews is in charge of a Department, then I’d say it’s vitally important the media have unfettered access to everyone within that organisation, whether they be prison officers (who are even more constrained from speaking out) or prisoners. Otherwise the stuff-ups will continue… and there are plenty of them that need to be brought to light.

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  38. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    “I’ll bet even money that it is revealed TV3 did let Corrections know ”

    How much $$??

    check over at Whale, it looks as if the reporter lied on her visitor application. She put herself down as a “family friend”

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/content/tv3-repeater-lies

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  39. Sandy (47 comments) says:

    Its not just corrections policy that’s breached. Also section something or other of the corrections law requires media to seek / gain permission. Prisoners strangely have NO right to speech – seems to be suspended. I discovered this when tried to get an interview with someone who wanted to talk but Prison said no. They only permit if its good PR for them & they keep control.

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  40. Lawrence Hakiwai (119 comments) says:

    Three months in jail! I will be pointing this one out to my team in case anyone feels a rush of blood to interview a prisoner anytime soon.

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