Home > Media, The Body Politic > NZ Herald – self censors?

NZ Herald – self censors?


In a curious twist to the old problem of the media sensationalising some stories, the New Zealand Herald this year took upon itself the decision  not to  report protests at Waitangi;


NZ Herald - protest free (1)


NZ Herald - protest free (2)

Both images above courtesy of The Daily Blog.


One has to ask if it is the role of the media to be self-censoring stories of events occurring in this country? If central government issued an edict banning the Herald (or other media) from covering a political protest – the media would be furious. There would be editorials up and down the country, insisting that the media was obligated to report the news, and not hold back because something might may people “uncomfortable”.

If the Herald wanted to place a small protest or scuffle or shouted abuse into context, the item could easily be placed on page 6, as a small “side-bar” news item.That would be appropriate context.

Not reporting the news raises the spectre of self-censorship. But more important – what else is the NZ Herald withholding from the public? What else have editors, managers, Board Directors, etc, decided that we should not see?

Are we children, to be spared the hurt of something that might possibly upset us?!

Interestingly, the Herald had no hesitation in reporting this non-story about the Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae, at the Waitangi Marae;



Waitangi celebrations start with scuffle


Interesting – there was no scuffle according to the Governor-General. He even tweeted as such earlier in the day,

“My being jostled at Waitangi is news to me. I’m enjoying the scenery, the people and the day so far! Visiting HMNZS Wellington tonight.”

But that did not stop the Herald from using the mis-leading headline,

Waitangi celebrations start with scuffle


Even as the Governor-General was tweeting that it never occurred, it  didn’t stop the Herald from quoting Dear Leader, who jumped into the fictional story with undue haste, without first checking the facts;

Having a few protesters or radicals effectively jostling the Governor-General is undignified, it’s unwarranted and, frankly, outright wrong.

Most people go to Waitangi to have a great time but there are one or two people that go to cause trouble and use the media to advance their own causes and their own issues.”

So there we have it. The Herald is only too happy to publish  a story focused on an fictional event that never took place, complete with an utterly misleading headline.

But not so keen to report real events and the background to what is motivating protesters.

A bit of a double standard there, NZ Herald.





NZ Herald: Waitangi celebrations start with scuffle

Waikato Times: PM’s comments called overblown


Previous related blogpost

Dear Leader – shoots from the lip. Again

Other blogs

The Daily Blog: Dear NZ Herald – a protest free newspaper is an abdication of responsibility








malcomx newspapers



= fs =

  1. 7 February 2014 at 8:12 pm

    This reminds me of Chomsky’s remarks on the NY Times regarding the invasions of East Timor: it wasn’t that newspapers couldn’t print information on it, they simply chose not to. No edicts were issued, they took it upon themselves to exercise that bit of editorial control. Of course, having some of the CIA appointed to their boards helped that process along.

    One could well be forgiven for wondering about GCSB or similar appointees to the Herald undercover? We’ve already had prominent ex-National appointees to TVNZ, just prior to shutting down TVNZ 7 ….

  2. 8 February 2014 at 10:08 am

    Spot on, Alan.

    Of course, this brings the entire notion of the “free press” into disrepute and derision. It’s not “free” – it’s carefully managed, according to internal management policy.

    Thankfully, this is where blogs and other “new media” come into play.

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