Most New Zealanders will know Kevin Milne. He was the front for Fair Go for 20 years. In dealing with the various crroks etc they exposed, Fair Go would push right to the edge of what they could do, in order to tell a story.
Kevin Milne spoke on ZB today about the secret tape. When a journalist of his standing decries the media behaviour, that surely is a sign that collectively they got it wrong. A rough transcript:
“I’ve been surprised (to say the least) that speculation over what was recorded in the so-called “teacups” conversation this week has taken precedence over questions about the way the recording was obtained and how its been subsequently used.
The freelance cameraman is reported as saying he didn’t intentionally record the conversation. Perhaps that is correct. Perhaps. I don’t believe it, but perhaps. But my knowledge of the filming process is that while you might unintentionally leave a microphone in the proximity of where a private conversation is about to be held, as you continue to video from outside you would be aware that sound was also being recorded.
But lets say I’m even wrong about that and the cameraman didn’t intentionally record that private conversation, doesn’t his innocence in the matter evaporate when he passes on the tapes to the Herald on Sunday and TV3 presumably for money?
I think its a gross breach of privacy to record a conversation between two people who are unaware they’re being recorded and then release the contents of it. It makes me embarrassed Paul to have been once part of the same line of work. If its allowed to go unchecked where does it end? For example, camera operators and sound recordists sometimes use extremely sophisticated and powerful directional microphones. You can pick up conversations from about 100 metres away.
Are we soon to see these freelance guys drifting around parliament grounds seeing what they can pick up on tape – conversations between politicians standing on the steps of parliament for example? And while they’re at it such freelance cameramen could randomly listen in on private conversations between press gallery journalists and their partners lunching on the chairs in the sun.
I’m not soft, Paul, when it comes to investigative journalism. On “Fair Go” we often took our filming right to the edge in an attempt to show a scam was taking place and not everyone would agree with the tactics that we used. But never would we record a couple of public figures in private conversation then use knowledge of what was on those recordings to put pressure on them to publicly reveal details of what they’d been talking about. In my mind that’s appalling. I don’t care whether the victims are politicians, whether its election time, whether the “cup of tea” meeting was a staged piece of political nonsense or whether in the course of that conversation one or both parties said something they wouldn’t want made public.
The whole thing remains a gross breach of privacy in my mind. The heat ought to be on the media involved here not John Key or John Banks.” …
“I think that the media have misunderstood the public” …
“I’m surprised that there have been no other journalists who have taken the position that I have. I’m embarrassed.”
Whale has the audio also, embedded below.Kevin Mile, Media, secret recordings