Canterbury Television was blocked by police from covering an earthquake memorial event at its former site after an apparent government blunder.
The Department of Internal affairs has apologised to Canterbury Television (CTV) after journalists were turned away from covering the arrival of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday.
Abe and his wife, Akie Abe, paid tribute to the people who died in the CTV building during the Christchurch earthquake. The pair laid a wreath at the site.
The building was where 115 of the 185 people who died in the February 2011 earthquake died.
Among those victims were employees of the station and 28 Japanese students*.
However, CTV’s head of news and content, Jacqui Shrimpton, said it received no notice of the site visit or what it entailed from the Department of Internal Affairs, which managed the event’s media coverage.
It is possible the DIA doesn’t have list or contacts for regional media, and just uses a national media list. But regardless, they should have regional media lists.
When a CTV journalist and cameraman arrived they had been ejected by police because their names were not on the list, Shrimpton said.
“We are frustrated and disappointed to not have been invited and were embarrassed in front of Christchurch media to have been sent away.”
Police had been apologetic, but strict security meant they could not allow the journalist and cameraman to stay.
The Police need to take some of the blame also. There’s a time to follow orders blindly, and there’s a time to use some discretion. At a minimum the officers should have checked higher up the line, until someone with authority could say of course you should let CTV staff in, so long as they have ID (which they would have).
The combination of the DIA oversight and the Police inflexibility combined in what really was a quite offensive way, albeit unintentionally – blocking CTV from covering a memorial at their own former site.