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Thread: How NZ Politicians stop the media mocking them

  1. #1

    Default How NZ Politicians stop the media mocking them

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    We need protection say MPs

    Politicians are defending their right to ban the media from using pictures taken in Parliament to poke fun, saying they need protection from being misrepresented.

    They have become embroiled in a fight with media representatives over their plan to change the rules for televising Parliament, including a new offence if footage is used for "satire, ridicule or denigration".

    Newspapers are also challenging changes that would allow television cameras to take shots that still photographers would continue to be banned from shooting.

    The rule change for television cameras came only after MPs decided to set up their own multimillion-dollar taxpayer-funded service broadcasting Parliament when it is in session.

    The multi-party committee of MPs that came up with the changes appeared to suggest that still photographers would make too much noise if the rules were also changed in their favour - but different reasons were given yesterday when it was raised with MPs.

    Leader of the House Michael Cullen suggested it was too easy for photographers to take photographs that were out of context.

    "Stills can show all kinds of things which may or may not be actually representative. I could go like that (Dr Cullen raised two fingers in the air) and you could take a still photograph and say I was showing the fingers. Which I wasn't actually."

    Only Green MP Nandor Tanczos, a member of the committee of MPs that came up with the change, was prepared yesterday to speak out against it, saying he had not been aware at the time that the rule about satire was something new and he considered it unenforceable.

    The Green Party would now be discussing their position on the changes, he said.

    But other MPs were right behind the move.

    NZ First leader Winston Peters said journalists were supposed to be reporting what went on in Parliament, not become involved in satire.

    Maori Party leaders Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples said they hoped the new rules would "assist the media in resisting the urge" to satirise, ridicule or denigrate MPs.

    In 2005, TV3 had its cameras banned for a week after it showed then associate education minister David Benson-Pope sleeping.

    In 2000, The Evening Post suffered the same penalty after it printed a photograph of former National MP Annabel Young yawning.

    In 2006, TV3 was banned for three days after showing a picture of NZ First MP Ron Mark making an obscene gesture.

    Press gallery chairman Vernon Small said yesterday that MPs wanted the media to "protect them from themselves".

    The gallery has sought an urgent meeting with Parliament's Speaker Margaret Wilson.

    The Commonwealth Press Union's media freedom committee chairman, Tim Pankhurst, said he endorsed the press gallery stand.

    Pankhurst, who is also editor of The Dominion Post, said the new rules were "absurd and must be challenged".

    I know that the media are trying to blow this out of proportion and that I was for restricting the media's bias and exaggeration. But I wanted it on REAL issues. Being mocked is part of being a politician, if they don't like how stupid they look on camera choose a different career!

    Like Maori land claims from the Treaty of Waitangi, where our media portrays it as just a few Maori trying to claim land off farmers and a weak government giving in all the time. This leads to ignorant and mis-informed Pakeha cause they don't actually explain WHY.

    This is just trivial, who cares if the news makes fun of some politicians, we already know lots of them are lazy bums who sleep, read and even listen to music when they are meant to be debating.

    If only George Bush had of thought of something like this before Iraq then maybe people wouldn't laugh at him so much.

  2. #2
    L'Etranger Senior Member Banquo's Ghost's Avatar
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    Default Re: How NZ Politicians stop the media mocking them

    It's a tough one, at least for me.

    I have no issue with satire being used against politicians, who in general are too close to power to avoid pomposity. Satire is an ancient power of the people that contributes to democratic checks and balances. Legislating against its use is wrong.

    On the other hand, I think our ridiculing of politicians has gone too far. Part of the reason we have such a democratic deficit in the west is that respect for politicians has diminished to the extent that they are always on the defensive, never trusting to have a discussion or air ideas. A politician who thinks aloud, weighing complex issues, will be mercilessly crushed as a buffoon.

    I've always admired the convention of respect for the office of president in the United States. The holder of the office may be lampooned to a certain extent, but the office is treated with enormous respect. We rebellious Euros may think that allows abuse, and it can, but I think it gives a gravitas to the leader that makes the country more cohesive. France has a similar approach with the hands-off convention to a politician's private life.

    Legislating against criticism is always a bad thing, but we need to require our media to grow up, and our politicians to do the same. Sadly, I think that time is gone, so we will laugh now at the circus and cry later when the clowns take over.
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  3. #3
    Still warlusting... Member Warluster's Avatar
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    Default Re: How NZ Politicians stop the media mocking them

    I don't laugh at our Pollies, thats absurd.

    Just ignore them, when its election time, draw a name out of a hat. :P

  4. #4
    American since 2012 Senior Member AntiochusIII's Avatar
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    Default Re: How NZ Politicians stop the media mocking them

    Good point, Banquo's Ghost, but I believe that the distrust of the "respect" given to a political office is based on the very real fears of allowing an individual to become too powerful for the good of the people.

    The influence of the mass media with politics is a complex one worthy of a long discussion in itself. The article in the opening post (admittedly from the same media that would have a very vested interest in the issue) however portrays this decision in a much less benign light. Stuff like "In 2005, TV3 had its cameras banned for a week after it showed then associate education minister David Benson-Pope sleeping" can arguably contribute to the public disillusionment with politicians in general; but surely the temporary ban they placed on something so petty is far worse in principle than the joke in it?

    I agree that we like our media to grow up: a common sentiment among many org members, apart from an almost universal disillusionment and lowered expectations with our politicians that you pointed out, is a disillusionment of the media's meandering and sensationalized nature. However, the change will not come from giving Parliament power of the censors, it will only come if the majority of the news consumers decide that they want something else. The audience -- the people -- is a major influence on the media.

    And of course, the media is a major influence on the people. It's a little bit of a tug-o-war.

    It is also my opinion that there really never was a system where a truly effective meritocracy is in place. In a dictatorship the man with the toughest iron fist wins; in a democracy it is the most persuasive man who wins. It has always been up to Fortune to decide if the leaders in power are statesmen or total idiots. From that light, one could consider the cause of "finding smarter leaders" to be a futile one, and therefore concentrates himself on opposing said leaders from gaining too much power...power like having a stick to beat on the media. At least in a modern democracy we can laugh at the caricatures of King George without having to fight a war for that freedom to do so.
    Last edited by AntiochusIII; 06-27-2007 at 12:53.

  5. #5
    Handler of candles Member Xehh II's Avatar
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    Default Re: How NZ Politicians stop the media mocking them

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    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: How NZ Politicians stop the media mocking them

    How NZ Politicians stop the media mocking them
    ... by being honest, decent, diligent, upright citizens?

    Evidently not - but that WOULD have been news. No, it seems the approach they're taking is to be so far up themselves the media can't find them. Trying to ban satire does sound a bit .... Stalinist, I guess. What would they do to "Spitting Image", I wonder?

    Yes, politicians should be respected, but let's face it most people who deride and denigrate them don't have a fraction of the wit or capability themselves, but that doesn't stop Joe "No-GCSEs" Blog(g)s from venting forth his ill-informed opinions. But too often the politicians bring it on themselves - hands in the till, hands in colleagues' pockets, hands in lobbyists' pockets or hands in researchers' knickers, whatever. To maintain the respect of the office does require a certain amount of decorum on the part of the incumbent.

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    The Black Senior Member Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: How NZ Politicians stop the media mocking them

    Maybe a hands off policy for most private lives of the Politicians while a more aggressive (as in investigatorial) role of the media on the content of what is discussed not the dry boredom that it engenders.

    However if a Politician makes policy on something and his private life has a direct impact on policy then it should be revealed for the public interest. Private life should mean that, however things like Politicians sleeping with the opposition should be known to the public so that the public can gauge the honesty of the Politicians.

    All politicians regardless of role should have allow the media transparent access to any criminal behaviour.
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  8. #8
    Insomniac and tired of it Senior Member Slyspy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How NZ Politicians stop the media mocking them

    But then again if a politician's behaviour in session is constrained by the fear that he/she will be compromised by the use of out of context photos is that really helpful?


    By which I mean photos taken in session, which if I read correctly is what this stems from.
    Last edited by Slyspy; 06-29-2007 at 13:58.
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