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NZ media wants more detail on public broadcasting merger

New Zealand’s largest media organisations have asked for more detail and more guarantees of independence from the proposed merger of the country’s public broadcasters.

Commercial news and broadcasting outlets speaking to MPs at a select committee hearing raised concerns about the limited detail over competition and cooperation, RNZ reports.

RNZ and TVNZ, who would merge into the new organisation from next year, have expressed broad support but with caveats.

The website Stuff has the largest network of newsrooms across the country. Its chief executive Sinead Boucher emphasised the threats she believed the new entity would pose to the wider commercial sector.

She said a sustainable commercial media was just as important as public media in maintaining a healthy democracy and a free and independent media system.

The merger would create a media giant with substantial market power, she said.

NZME is another of the largest news organisations in New Zealand, owning newspapers and radio stations. Editor Shayne Currie said the legislation was being “rushed through with a flawed process and it risks seriously destabilising the already fragile media landscape”.

He said the merger would have “significant distortionary effects” on competition.