Posted by BE on March 9th, 2012
One might have thought that 43 years later, the notion that it was OK for government ministers to interfere in the editorial affairs of public radio or television would be considered laughable. But apparently not.
Gerry Brownlee evidently thought that his status as a Cabinet Minister entitled him to ring up Radio New Zealand and demand a right of reply to comments made on Jim Mora’s Afternoons programme some weeks ago by Christchurch MP Lianne Dalziel. The topic under discussion was of course the Government’s handling of the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes and Dalziel was predictably unimpressed. Brownlee is the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister and seems to have considered that his portfolio gave him the right to demand an instant right of reply on the programme.
The production team disagreed. As a regular contributor on the show, I can tell you that Afternoons is a tightly scheduled programme. It isn’t easy to slot in an additional item. More importantly, Afternoons would almost certainly have been conscious of the significance of acceding to what amounted to a demand from a Government minister for immediate air time during a live broadcast. Brownlee was told that the programme could not fit him in. Read the rest of this entry »