Media Matters in New Zealand Inc., a registered charity with the Charities Commission, has engaged Tony Ellis QC, one of our country’s most respected Civil Rights lawyers, to fight the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) recent decision to penalise Donald McDonald for his use of the BSA complaint system. Tax-payer funded lawyers acting for the BSA and TVNZ will engage with Tony Ellis QC in the High Court of New Zealand and Media Matters is seeking funding support for its legal action from its members.
Registered as a charity on 30 June 2008 (CC42477), Media Matters in New Zealand Inc (Incorporating Children’s Media Watch) exists among other things to warn and alert New Zealanders to the “dangers” posed by the media, “especially its threat to the well-being of the young and vulnerable in our society”. It encourages its members to use the BSA complaints system where there has been a perceived breach by the broadcaster of the Broadcasting Standards (as set out clearly in legislation – see the BSA website). The Society for Promotion of Community Standards Inc. also encourages its members to do likewise and it fully endorses the objectives of this charity.
John Terris, National President Media Matters, in his recent notification to members of the organisation’s forthcoming AGM on 9 November 2011, wrote:
“One of the few avenues available to us is the complaints system, administered by the Broadcasting Standards Authority, which, has become so permissive that it is now turning on the very people it was set up 20 years ago to serve. (See BSA.govt.nz Decision No. 20120)
“In an unprecidented move, the BSA actually fined one of our members, Donald McDonald of Wellington, just because, in their view, he complains too much. And why would he not, given the disregard for accuracy which characterizes our television news.
“Simply put, they want to stop him from complaining (as he does on a regular basis) so they can ignore the serious negative effects of TV on the young, reflected in things like the rising rate of youth crime, the misuse of drugs and alcohol, and the climate of greed and envy and all other ills in our society which televisions feeds and nurtures.”
[The BSA has chosen to target Don McDonald] “a pensioner of limited means who is a member of the Royal Society of NZ and a respected scientist, while art the same time. they penalise our television channels with a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket when they err instead of imposing a hefty fine for their shameless exploitation of our kids.”
Source: Media Matters in NZ Newsletter/AGM Advert – written by President John Terris.