State Media Bans Dissident!
Left-wing critic; blogger; and media commentator, Martyn “Bomber” Bradbury, 36, is a semi-regular guest on Radio New Zealand’s “Afternoons with Jim Mora” Panel – a segment hosted between 4pm to 5pm, each weekday. “Bomber” Bradbury is invited to participate once a month or thereabouts.
During the course of this hour, the host – Jim Mora – features topics of interest and often contains a degree of controversy. Panellists range in political belief from the right wing such as Mathew Hooton and David Farrar, to the left, such as Martyn Bradbury and Dr Brian Edwards.
During this hour, Jim Mora always asks panellists, “What’s been on your mind?”. His guests are invited to share any pressing particular issue that they might feel merits consideration. It can literally be on any issue dear to each Guest.
On 5 October, a 54 year old man sitting in the public gallery at Parliament attempted to jump over the Public Gallery balustrade and into the debating chamber. He was restrained by members of the public and security guards, before the man could complete his jump, thereby averting serious injury to himself and to anyone below him. More here.
During this incident, the Prime Minister was heard making several comments directed at the Labour Party MPs seated across the Debating Chamber from him.
He was also seen to make a peculiar motion across his throat, which has been described by many as a “throat slitting gesture”,
[Click image for video]
By coincidence, “Bomber” Bradbury was scheduled to be a guest panellist on Jim Mora’s show the following day. When asked “What’s been on your mind?” by Jim Mora, “Bomber” gave his critical opinion of John Key’s (alleged) “throat slitting gesture”.
The 4pm-5pm Panellist comments are normally presented on RNZ’s websites in two parts, split in two to account for the 4.30pm News Update.
As an example, note the “Audio from Wednesday 5 October 2011”. Click here for webpage.
However, the “Audio from Thursday 6 October 2011” contains only Part 1. Part 2 has been removed. Click here for webpage.
However, “Bombers” comments were discussed on Mediawatch for 9 October. (Relevant commentary begins at 26.05)
Bradbury’s comments are highly critical of the Prime Minister’s actions on the day of the “Balcony Jumper”, and describes Key in unflattering terms.
So because Bradbury has criticised John Key’s actions, CEO Peter Cavanaugh has banned him from participating in Radio NZ again, and has removed Part Two of the Panellists Hour.
Martyn Bradbury explains the situation here.
If this doesn’t smack of Big Brother, then what does? In effect, Cavanaugh accepts right wing critical comments – often directed at the Greens or the Labour Party – but balks at criticism of the Prime Minister?!
Since when has it been a bannable offense to criticise the Prime Minister?
If you find Peter Cavanaugh’s actions reprehensible, then here are the appropriate email addresses to write to:
Peter Cavanagh <firstname.lastname@example.org>
RNZ’s Facebook page:
Other email addresses that might be useful:
Jim Mora <email@example.com>
The Press <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dominion Post <email@example.com>
Sunday Star Times <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Listener <email@example.com>
NZ Herald <firstname.lastname@example.org>
“An attack on one is an attack on all.“
Email correspondence on this issue
On Monday, soon after learning of Radio NZ’s bizarre decision to “Ban the ‘Bomber’ B”, I fired of three emails to various email addresses for the SOE. This is the one email I recieved a response to,
date: Mon, Oct 10, 2011 at 2:35 PM
subject: Recent Events…
Your recent banning of Martyn Bradbury reeks of muzzling freedom of expression. Will you also be banning right wing commentators David Farrar and Mathew Hooten? I heard Bradbury’s so-called “offending comments” and found nothing offensive or defamatory amongst them.
I sincerely hope that saner heads prevail at RNZ and this crazy decision is rescinded. Or have we reached a stage here in NZ that criticising the Dear Leader (formerly known as the Prime Minister) is no longer permitted?
Shame on you, RNZ – you are capable of much more than this kind of pettiness.
Today (Tuesday, 11 October), I received this response, from their Communications Manager, John Barr,
from: Feedback email@example.com
date: Tue, Oct 11, 2011 at 1:40 PM
subject: RE: Recent Events…
Thanks for taking the time to contact Radio New Zealand. We appreciate feedback from our regular listeners and I can assure you that your comments about Martyn Bradbury have been noted and passed on to the relevant people at Radio New Zealand National.
Radio New Zealand has monitored and noted the on-line, email, and blog discussions over recent days relating to The Panel and Martyn Bradbury’s performance last week. There are several points that need to be made.
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 because it was considered to be potentially defamatory and Radio New Zealand has a duty to protect the organization against defamation proceedings.
Participants on The Panel on Afternoons with Jim Mora are given plenty of latitude to express personal opinions but it is expected that these will be presented for engagement and discussion and that panellists will conform to Radio New Zealand’s editorial policies and broadcast standards. A relationship of trust and confidence between the programme presenter, producers, and panellists is essential for the programme to be effective.
Mr Bradbury’s comments on The Panel on Afternoons last Thursday were inconsistent with information he had provided to programme producers before going on air and Mr Bradbury later apologised to the programme’s Executive Producer.
It was made clear to him that while his invitation to appear as an occasional guest on The Panel was being withdrawn, it was not a ‘lifelong ban’.
I hope this information clarifies some of the issues that have been raised over the last few days.
Thanks again for your email.
This is a Standard Response, sent to several people who have also taken time to voice their concerns to Radio NZ. It is also – according to ‘Bomber’ Bradbury, more or less utter BS. (Read ‘Bomber’s’ response here.)
It astounds me that someone of Mr Barr’s education (I assume) could think to send out such comments and not realise that with the internet, his claims could be dissected and countered as rapidly as it takes to write a response and post it on-line. It makes Radio NZ appear to be panicking and desperate as they try to cover their arses.
Obviously government funding cut-backs have impacted severely on the quality of Radio NZ’s PR department.
Perhaps the strangest of Mr Barr’s comments was this,
“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.”
That is absurd rubbish. There is no such requirement for Guest political commentators to be “fair and balanced” – just as there is no requirement for politicians guesting on Radio NZ to be “fair and balanced”. Can you imagine this scene taking place in Radio NZ’s studio,
Host: “Welcome, Mr Prime Minister.”
John Key: “You’re welcome, it’s good to be here.” [smiles on-microphone]
Host: “Now before we begin, Mr Prime Minister, I just have to remind you that you have to be fair and balanced in what you say today. That means explaining Labour’s taxation and welfare policies, in an unbiased, non-partisan way.
John Key: “Sure. No problem” [waves to studio technicians]
Host: “So can you tell the listeners, Mr Prime Minister, which taxation policy is the fairest for all New Zealanders, and not just the top ten percent?”
John Key: “No problem. Obviously Labour’s taxation policies are vastly fairer in that their system is progressive, and their Capital Gain Tax captures those who up till now have escaped paying their fair share. By contrast, my government’s policies have impacted unfairly on the poorest in our society, and our opposition to a Capital Gains Tax simply perpetuates inequities.” [smiles and waves at people outside studio, looking in]
It is not up to invited guests to be “fair and balanced”. Guests present their own individual, particular, viewpoints.
Instead, it is Radio NZ’s responsibility to invite guests from various, differing, viewpoints. This, then presents a “fair and balanced” debate.
No doubt Mr Barr and Radio NZ’s hierarchy is well aware of this salient point. I am guessing that Radio NZ’s management have simply hoped that the public are thick enough to swallow their line that “guests have to be fair and balanced”.
Do they really think so poorly of their listening audience?
It’s definitely “Amateur Hour” at Radio NZ at the moment.
Right-wing blogger and National Party activist, David Farrar, was today one of the two guests on Jim Mora’s Panel today (11 October).
Was Farrar instructed that he was “required to be fair and balanced” in his comments?
I truly suspect he was not.
Received today, a second response from Radio NZ. This time from the Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief, Peter Cavanagh,
from: Peter Cavanagh Peter.Cavanagh@radionz.co.nz
date: Wed, Oct 12, 2011 at 11:08 AM
subject: RE: Recent events
Dear Mr. Macskasy,
Thank you for your recent email.
I understand that you also contacted other staff at Radio New Zealand and have subsequently received a detailed response from our Communications Manager, John Barr.
I hope this information has clarified the issues raised.
Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief
Has John Barr’s “detailed response” to me “clarified the issues”?
No, Mr Cavanagh, it has not.
Related Blog Stories
Defusing The Bomber
– Chris Trotter, Bowalley Road.blogspot.com
Banned from Radio NZ for criticizing the Government
– Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury, Tumeke
Radio New Zealand needs to clarify position on Bomber ban
– Phoebe Fletcher, Tumeke
Dropping the Bomber
– Russell Brown, Publicaddress.net
On RNZ’s banning of Bomber Bradbury
– Gordonb Campbell, gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz
Censoring criticism of Key
– Anthony R0bins, The Standard
Let the courts decide
– the sprout, The Standard
Bomber Bradbury – a gutless reaction by Radio New Zealand that smacks of political hypersensitivity.
You have the right to free speech as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it
– Andrew Geddis, Pundit
And from the “Champions of Free Speech” *cough*
Radio NZ and Bradbury
– David Farrar, Kiwiblog
On The Bradbury Ban