Māori Worldviews and Broadcasting Standards: What Should Be the Relationship?

Māori Worldviews and Broadcasting Standards: What …
01 Apr 2009

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has written this paper in order to provide a platform for discussion surrounding the relationship between broadcasting standards and Maori worldviews and interests. It is hoped that by setting out context for BSA’s work and outlining the decisions the BSA has made on issues of particular concern to Maori, this will provide a ready resource for everyone who is interested in this discussion.

Although Maori are the focus of this paper, many of the issues highlighted here also apply to the portrayal of other visible minority groups, including Pacific Island and Asian New Zealanders

Key Results

  • The BSA receives few complaints about Māori programmes and issues, or from Māori complainants
  • Most are made under balance, fairness, and accuracy standards
  • Freedom of speech allows Māori to be criticized but also preserves the right of Māori broadcasters to tell Māori stories from a Māori perspective
  • There is some conflict between Māori notions of privacy and BSA privacy principles
  • Māori broadcasters and journalists may define balance differently, but
  • Many agree that the standards should be universal, but interpreted in a more culturally enlightened manner
  • Improving the portrayal of Māori society and te ao Māori in the mainstream media requires a multi-pronged approach
  • The BSA’s mandate does not extend to the underlying causes, the factors which contribute to a broadcast environment in which fair and informed coverage of Māori and te ao Māori continue to be problematic
  • BSA has a role to play in persuading broadcasters to voluntarily agree to guidelines which, while carrying no legal force, can still go some way to raising awareness and changing attitudes among broadcasters
  • The question for broadcasters and those who care about broadcasting in New Zealand is whether that change should be the result of legislative change or a voluntary move from within the industry to examine itself and seek ways to improve the picture for Māori – and, indeed, for all New Zealanders
Page last modified: 15 Mar 2018