Pacific Media Watch

14 April 2015

NZ: Media can do better over cultural diversity, says Dame Susan

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Talking About Ourselves, a Human Rights Commission report scanning 2014 mainstream news items relating to race relations. Image: HRC

AUCKLAND (Human Rights Commission/Pacific Media Watch): New Zealand’s mainstream media need to make sure they include the voices of the very people they report on, says the Human Rights Commission.
Māori Television's Native Affairs show last night launched the commission's Talking About Ourselves,  a report scanning 2014 mainstream news items relating to race relations carried out by the company Mediamine.
“The media play an influential role in how we understand or misunderstand each other and it’s a role that’s grown with the internet as well as our rapidly changing demographic,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.
“We dehumanise people when we write stories about them but fail to give them a voice.  Is it fair to write a news article about Māori and Asian New Zealanders without interviewing and including their voices in your story?”
Dame Susan said the overwhelming majority of news items were acceptable but New Zealand media could do a lot better.
“We found fewer positive stories about Māori issues and conversely more negative stories written about Māori issues.  It shows how inured many of us have become to negative mainstream portrayals of Maori New Zealanders and their human rights,” said Dame Susan.
“We encourage fairness, balance and excellence in reporting on all communities.”
Dame Susan said internationally more countries were monitoring the way their media reported on race so the commission decided to look at the way race was reported on in our media.

New Zealanders were invited to have a look at Talking About Ourselves and to make their own minds up.
More reported here

The Māori Television episode

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