7. Healthy Markets
This is about Rupert Murdoch...
Some newspaper owners like to control what their newspapers say. If the owner has a political agenda they'll get their newspapers to follow it. If they want to attack a certain person they'll get their newspapers to dig up dirt on them. The more newspapers, television channels or other news outlets that owner controls, the more influence they have.
We may think this would never happen in little old NZ. Sure - the third world, Russia or Italy might have corruption - but not a proper western democracy...
How about Australia? Rupert Murdoch owns 70% of all newspapers in Australia and all of them were fanatically critical of their previous PM, Julia Gillard. Possibly as a result of this, Gillard's polling was unbelievably low (despite running one of the most successful economies in the world) and she was replaced as Labor leader. The same papers then attacked new PM, Kevin Rudd, urged voters to support Tony Abbott, and the rest is history.
This corrupting influence over democracy is not illegal, it's not as blatant as bribing election officials or blockading polling booths but the end result is the same. And there is nothing to stop it happening here in New Zealand.
Unlike other western democracies we have no limits on concentration of news media ownership, no limits on foreign ownership of our news media and weak limits on monopolies like SkyTV.
... and the TPPA
So-called Free Trade Agreements like the TPPA limit our right to set local content quotas for radio and television. Quotas are used around the world to safeguard local creative communities and cultural representation. But the US has gone on record saying local content quotas are a form of protectionism and as such, are a trade barrier.
Thanks to the GATS agreement signed in the 90s, New Zealand has already lost the ability to create a compulsory quota for local music or television because it would limit foreign businesses ability to trade here.
Healthy Media = Healthy Democracy
The CBB calls for a review of policy and legal provisions affecting market competition in NZ media, domestically and internationally, including:
- a review of competition laws that allow media companies to impede market competition
- a review of international free trade agreements which prevent the introduction of local content quotas
- limits on media ownership to avoid monopolies
Better broadcasting and media for New Zealanders, not for advertisers
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