Chris Trotter, in a thread at Red Alert, proposes a media policy for Labour, being:
1) Establishes an hypothocated Broadcasting Fund large enough to sustain an independent, publicly-owned, free-to-air television and radio network, with statutory obligations to deliver quality, locally-produced content to all New Zealanders.
I actually am reasonably supportive of this aim. We currently pour $230 million a year into public broadcasting, and a BBC-style broadcaster could be affordable with that money. However the challenge is to stop it becoming a mouth-piece for the left, as so many public broadcasters do. As they are taxpayer funded, they have an incentive to support parties that wish to increase taxes.
The idea of a dedicated fund, so it is not directly taxpayer funded has some merit. What I would do is sell off TVNZ entirely, and use the proceeds from it to establish such a fund.
2) Prohibits the cross-ownership of media platforms (i.e. a newspaper cannot also own a radio station, or a television network – and vice-versa).
3) Restricts the private ownership of the news media to New Zealand citizens – who will be barred from owning more than a single media outlet (i.e. one newspaper, one radio station, one TV station).
When you take these two together, it would kill off almost every newspaper in NZ. Making money out of a newspaper is getting very difficult. Fairfax and APN manage it because they can share resources and copy. If you implemented Comrade Trotter’s manifesto then I’d say the number of newspapers in New Zealand would shrink to around three or four.
Chris would have every single radio station, newspaper and TV station owned by a different New Zealander. My rough count is we have close to 100 newspapers and 200 radio stations. I suspect many of those would disappear lacking owners willing to risk hundreds of thousands of dollars on them.
4) Creates a Media Complaints Tribunal with wide powers to ensure fairness, balance and accuracy in all forms of media.
Good God. I hate to think. Will it have the power to actually take over news-rooms to ensure “fairness” or just to imprison journalists who do not do what the state tells them is fair?Tags: Chris Trotter, Media