A few extra thoughts on the hate speech which was on the Radio NZ Checkpoint page.
Unless you vet comments in advance, no publisher can prevent inappropriate comments from appearing. I don’t think anyone blames Radio NZ for the fact they appeared. But what one can judge on is how quickly they were removed. RNZ staff acted once there was publicity about it, but for an organisation with $35 million a year of taxpayer funding, the comments should have never lasted as long as they did.
Some salient points:
- Some of the comments had been up for three days or longer – conclusion no regular checking of the page.
- The comments were incredibly vile – massive use of the c word to describe the PM and one person saying his mother should have been gassed in the holocaust – how could people feel you can say such a thing on a Radio NZ page?
- Over 100 comments had to be deleted by RNZ staff, which was close to a quarter of the comments on the page. So this was not one or two comments that slipped through, but a mountain of vile abuse which dominated the page.
- No-one alerted RNZ to the comments before they got publicity. If someone used such language about a politician on KB, I’d have several e-mails within minutes from readers alerting me to it. But somehow no one reading the Radio NZ Checkpoint Facebook page thought the comments needed drawing to the attention of Radio NZ. This suggests that the only people on the page were those of a similar view on John Key.
- Has Radio NZ done anything beyond delete the comments? Have they reported those who made the most vile comments? Have they blocked them from the Radio NZ FB pages? Or are they free to do the same next time?