Fine-tuning National’s broadcasting policy

Got to last night’s media7 taping. The subject was National’s broadcasting policy. South Pacific Pictures’ John Barnett and Christchurch Broadcasting School head Paul Norris joined National’s broadcasting spokesman Jonathan Coleman.

It was interesting to see important National policy clarified, and what looked suspiciously like policy-making on the hoof. Russell Brown posts on the most news-worthy bits, which I’ve held off posting about as I was there as a member of the audience only.

Most importantly, Coleman clarified that National will support Maori Television and Radio New Zealand — including Concert and international — at current levels. The current policy doesn’t make this clear.

Of course, that could mean a cut in real terms in funding for public broadcasting, of which Maori Television and Radio New Zealand are arguably the main components given TVNZ’s squandering of the Charter funding. As Brian Rudman puts it writing about TVNZ management in this morning’s Herald:

“These are the people who happily waste the $15 million special annual grant from the Government for public service “charter” programmes on pap like Sensing Murder and Mucking In, and on core business they should be producing anyway, like the Sunday programme.”

Long-term, the outlook for public broadcasting is not so good. There was much discussion of separating public broadcasting from the public broadcaster. But, as many others have pointed out, such a separation takes away the rationale for public ownership, thereby rendering the public broadcaster vulnerable to sale. We’d be left with public broadcasting vulnerable to the whim of the government year-by-year. Who’d bet on it as a long-term proposition then?

Coleman himself acquitted well, especially considering the amount of clarification he was doing. His chatty and relaxed style was somewhat reminiscent of John Key, but he was able to think on his feet too.

Once again, great panel, great show, must-see viewing. You can catch it on TVNZ 7 at 9.30pm tonight, or wait for the links tomorrow morning on public address.

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One Response to “Fine-tuning National’s broadcasting policy”

  1. “The bland leading the bland” « Jafapete’s Weblog Says:

    […] beg clarification? Why, for example, did we have National’s broadcasting spokesperson confirming on media7 that funding for Maori TV and Radio NZ would be […]

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