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Pascal Goes For It

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Second complaint shot down by our media party. I’m escalating.

I write in response to your formal complaint regarding the following article:

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/407097/far-right-activist-s-house-raided-over-suspectedillegal-
firearm which was published on our website on January 11. Your complaint has been referred to me for investigation and reply. Your complaint has been processed as a possible breach of the Accuracy, Fairness and Balance, and Comment and Fact principles and a decision has been reached.
The term “far right” is one that has been used a number of times to describe Mr de Boer previously.
Given his published views on topics such as immigration, it is a reasonable editorial judgement to use the term “far right” to describe him. RNZ stands by this description. For these reasons, your complaint was not upheld.

You have a right, if you wish to exercise it, to refer this decision for review to the New Zealand Media Council, at http://www.mediacouncil.org.nz. You must do so within 10 working days, otherwise the Council may not accept your referral.

It remains for me to thank you for bringing this matter to our attention and for your giving us the opportunity to address your concerns.

Mr George Bignell of RNZ is wrong, I believe.

And the response to them. I don’t have much on this one unfortunately, but let’s punt it.

Dear Media Council,

I lodged a complaint with RNZ.co.nz regarding the description of a conservative, right-wing individual as “far-right”, a term closely connected to “alt-right” and, by virtue of media association, white supremacy. I believe this headline is inaccurate and given the nature of the article represents a real threat to freedom of speech in our democracy.
Dieuwe de Boer is a self-confessed conservative and right-wing voter.
In the media reports and online material on him that I have been able to find, he describes himself as such and his views are in-line with a conservative, right-wing viewpoint as I understand matters. Holding anti-immigration views does not qualify one as “far-right”, otherwise I would expect all articles referencing Winston Peters to describe him as “far-right” as well.
The only media describing Mr de Boer as “far-right” comes from RNZ.co.nz; linked below:
https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/407097/far-right-activist-s-house-raided-over-suspected-illegal-firearm
https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/insight/audio/2018692368/new-alt-right-political-groups-hiding-in-plain-sight-investigation
There is a wide spectrum of voters on the right-wing. To characterise somebody who holds right-wing views as “far-right” sets a dangerous precedent for shutting down what is half of our populations’ political views. For balance, we never see articles describing some of the views espoused even by Members of Parliament as far-left, Communist or associated with the likes of Mao, Stalin and Tarrant even though those viewpoints are shared and held as members of the far-left.
Moreover, this creates a dangerous scenario where inaccurate reporting like this threatens a free New Zealanders’ life, livelihood and liberty. He has already been targeted by the police after making a submission on law changes, a normal action in a free democracy. To further try and smear him inaccurately as a white supremacist is a slur that should not be allowed to stand in a country that prides itself on fairness, equality and allowing people the freedom to express their views.
I sincerely hope you will take the time to review this and to have this corrected.

Regards,

Alright, and on the use of Aotearoa as a name; this is what I’m going to the media council with.

Dear Media Council,

I lodged a complaint with Stuff.co.nz regarding the use of Aotearoa in the URL and title of the referenced online article, describing an earthquake in New Zealand. I believe this article is inaccurate for the following reasons:

1. The legal name of our country is New Zealand. This is captured in both our declaration of independence and the Treaty of Waitangi, the foundational documents of our democracy.

It is what international visitors, family and friends overseas and many New Zealanders will know our country as. In something as risky as an earthquake, particularly given the recent volcanic eruption on White Island and the aftereffects of the Christchurch Earthquakes, using the accurate name in a factual article headline is crucial.
Not everyone will know the colloquialism of Aotearoa and this may place people at risk or cause needless panic.

2. Aotearoa is not the original, te reo Māori name for New Zealand.

It was popularised by European writers such as William Pember Reeves and Stephenson Percy Smith and likely derived from the name of the great explorer Kupe’s canoe or his daughters’ exclamation of “He ao, he ao” when she first saw the North island. In fact, Aotearoa was used to describe only the North Island – not the entirety of our great nation.

The accurate, te reo Māori name is Niu Tireni, which is again captured in our nations’ founding documents and the one name the newly unified tribes of New Zealand agreed on.

3. I hear and understand Janine Fenwick’s contention that it is a sop to te reo Māori; to show a hint of respect for our history and background and the language te reo Māori.

However, I would contend that a pidgin approach to it, by sprinkling te reo Māori in an occasional headline or using it only for hello and goodbye is disrespectful to our own, unique language and that Stuff.co.nz would be far better showing their respect by publishing their articles in multiple languages.

4. If Aotearoa is to enter the public consciousness as an official name for our country, it should be done formally through a process such as the flag referendum. It should not be a Stuff.co.nz decision to change a name by stealth by misrepresenting our nation and its proud history from all the tribes that now call it home.

I hope you can investigate this and hope for a resolution in terms of accurately representing our country.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. We need a hundred of us doing this every day to all media that belittles and diminshes our political views by using such terms. Grest work Pascal.

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  2. Fantastic work Pascal! You’re not only writing good sense online… but you also have the balls and commitment to put your argument to officialdom. They’ll probably override you, but they can’t fail to notice.

    Well done 👍

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  3. LOL, will some numpty look at this YSB post and believe your heading photo is actually Pascal?! 😊

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  4. Hahaha. Thanks team. Best case, it helps roll back some of the media nonsense. Worst case, I spend 10 minutes for them to investigate, respond, etc.

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  5. Ardern ran an anti immigration campaign as did her colleague Winston. It was the most overtly anti immigration racist campaign I’ve ever seen.

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