Diversity at Radio NZ

For those interested, Radio NZ Afternoons has Facebooked on how Bradbury is not banned from anything – they have just decided not to invite him on The Panel anymore. This is no more a ban than saying I was banned from NBR when they dropped my column. They say:

Mr Bradbury has not been banned from Radio New Zealand. He was told that his invitation to appear as a future panellist on Afternoons had been withdrawn but there was no suggestion that it applied to other programmes.

Radio New Zealand received many complaints from listeners regarding Mr. Bradbury’s comments on The Panel during Afternoons with Jim Mora last Thursday.

The decision to withdraw Mr. Bradbury’s invitation to take part in future editions of The Panel was made by the programme’s Executive Producer immediately after the programme. That decision was supported by the senior manager responsible for the programme and subsequently by the Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief.

Mr. Bradbury’s invitation to participate on The Panel was withdrawn because his personal comments about the Prime Minister were deemed to be in breach of Radio New Zealand’s editorial requirements for fairness and balance. One of his comments was regarded as being potentially defamatory. The segment in question was removed from the Radio New Zealand website for that reason. Radio New Zealand has a duty to protect the organization against defamation proceedings.

In other words don’t defame people on air, when the broadcaster is liable for what you say.

What I have found interesting is the comments by some that Bradbury is the only left wing voice on The Panel or that it is somehow dominated by voices from the right. I decided to check out the panelists from the last month or so, and have categorised them on their leanings based on my knowledge of them.

Lean Right

  1. Me
  2. Neil Miller
  3. John Bishop
  4. Michelle Boag
  5. Sam Johnson
  6. Stephen Franks
  7. Deborah Hill-Cone

Lean Left

  1. Michelle A’Court
  2. Matt Nippert
  3. Martyn Bradbury
  4. Jeremy Elwood
  5. Simon Pound
  6. Duncan Webb
  7. Anna Chinn
  8. Brian Edwards
  9. Mike Williams
  10. Gary McCormick
  11. Tim Watkin
  12. David Slack
  13. Islay McLeod
  14. Chris Trotter
  15. Don Donovan
  16. Liz Bowen-Clewley
  17. Finlay MacDonald
  18. Gary Moore
  19. Scott Yorke

Not Known

  1. Irene Gardiner
  2. Rosemary McLeod
  3. Tony Doe
  4. Graham Bell
  5. Jane Clifton
  6. Ali Jones
  7. David McPhail
  8. John Dunne
  9. Chris Wikaira
  10. Richard Langston
  11. Joanne Black

This reinforces what I suspect is the real issue for many of those complaining. They regard Radio NZ as an institution of the left. For many years there was no diversity of opinion on Radio NZ. The only voices you would hear are the left. And to some degree this is still true in some parts of Radio NZ. Take Nine to Noon. While Kathryn Ryan is absolutely impartial, her regular guests are 10:1 from the left. And the same at weekends with Hill and Laidlaw.

On Afternoons, there is a slightly better balance. They actually have half a dozen panelists who lean to the right. And some on the left hate that. They hate that there is no a voice on Radio New Zealand that says things they can’t just quietly nod along to, safe in their unchallenged view of the world.

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