News      |      Events

New Zealand broadcaster announces inquiry into bias and misuse of resources

New Zealand’s national broadcaster TVNZ has announced a review into the misuse of company resources and alleged political bias.

In a media release, the company said the inquiry focusing on its Maori and Pacific Programmes department will get underway this week with the involvement of media law expert Steven Price and respected broadcasting figure Bill Francis.

Mr Price is a barrister specialising in media law and lectures at Victoria University of Wellington’s law school. Mr Francis is the Chief Executive of the Radio Broadcasters Association with more than 45 years broadcasting experience.

TVNZ Chief Executive Mr Kevin Kenrick said: “We’re committed to a thorough, transparent and fair review process. Steven Price and Bill Francis have extensive expertise and experience in the media industry. They’ll provide an objective and independent view of what’s gone on and recommend what changes TVNZ can make.

“The review team will be given full access to TVNZ resources. It’s expected their review will take a matter of weeks, not months.” The final report will be made public.

The media release says the review panel will be chaired by TVNZ’s Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs, and be joined by others as needed, for example to provide Maori language expertise.

The panel will investigate the inappropriate use of TVNZ resources within its Maori and Pacific Programmes department for political means between February 2013 and February 2014.

It will also determine whether any obvious political bias can be identified in the department’s programmes during that period or in Q+A interviews conducted by the former General Manager of Maori and Pacific Programmes, during his time on the show from March to November 2012.