Churchillian view of public media’s future

 The New Public Media Entity has turned into a Churchillian quotation, and it is not “their finest hour”.

Following last Thursday’s Budget, the project to replace Television New Zealand and RNZ has become “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”.

The Budget told us the project would receive $327 million of Government funding over three years in roughly equal annual instalments. The total appropriation for the “Strong Public Media” project over the next four years is $370 million, meaning $43 million will be used to establish the new entity and for the Ministry for Culture & Heritage to “monitor’ it.

That is a sizeable chunk of money, but the Government does expect some pay-back from the commercial operations of what is now Television New Zealand. It estimates a dividend of $306 million over six years.

And that is where the detail ends. Continue reading “Churchillian view of public media’s future”

As if the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh wasn’t enough…

Nothing justifies the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and the wounding of her colleague Ali al-Samoudi during an Israeli raid on Jenin in the Occupied West Bank. Nothing.

I believe the renowned reporter died at the hands of Israeli armed forces and that she was deliberately targeted because she was a journalist, easily identified by the word PRESS on the flak jacket and helmet that did not protect her from the shot that killed her. Her wounded colleague was identically dressed.

I am left in no doubt about the culpability of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on a number of grounds. Continue reading “As if the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh wasn’t enough…”

Radio ratings: Finely chopped, stirred and spun

Radio audience figures can be sliced and diced. Last week’s release of the first quarter’s ratings was cut so many ways that even the bobby dazzler of the chopping board Jamie Oliver would have been impressed.

NewstalkZB could afford to play it straight (almost) with figures that showed breakfast host Mike Hosking has well-and-truly eclipsed RNZ’s Morning Report as the most-listened-to programme. It stated on its website that “already king of the airwaves” Hosking has “surged to a new record of more than half a million listeners”. His 511,700 listeners – compared to Morning Report’s 429,100 – was certainly worth crowing about.

So, too, was ZB’s place as the top commercial station in the GfK commercial survey with a cumulative weekly audience of 744,000 people. That, too, topped RNZ National’s weekly audience by 117,000 listeners, although ZB wouldn’t draw the parallel because the commercial broadcasters have assiduously avoided a single radio market survey where non-commercial audiences are included in the comparisons.

However, what ZB and its sister, the New Zealand Herald, didn’t tell us was that in its biggest market – Auckland – both Hosking and the station’s overall audience  have come off the boil. The breakfast host’s share of audience in that market has dropped 4.6 percentage points to 30.3 per cent and his weekly cumulative audience is down by almost 6000 to 217,800. The station’s overall share in Auckland is down from 24.3 per cent to 21.5 per cent. Continue reading “Radio ratings: Finely chopped, stirred and spun”

The tweet that could cook Twitter’s goose

Perversity being what it is, I think Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter could be the best thing that could happen to the Christchurch Call.

Remember the Christchurch Call, the international effort to curb online hate speech led by Jacinda Ardern after the mosque attacks? Do you recall the enthusiasm with which social media platforms joined international leaders to commit to a better tomorrow and Facebook, Twitter and Google collectively stating they were “resolute in our commitment to ensure we are doing all we can to fight the hatred and extremism that lead to terrorist violence”?

Last Thursday we had confirmation of what we already knew: The social media platforms were either inept or liars. The Washington-based Center for Countering Digital Hate produced a report showing the platforms had failed to act on Anti-Muslim hate 89 per cent of the time. We can only imagine their failure rate on other forms of hate speech, to say nothing of dangerous disinformation, although the centre has previously identified failures to deal with antisemitism, anti-black racism, misogyny, and anti-vax disinformation.

The centre, using the platforms’ own search tools, identified 530 anti-Muslim posts that had been viewed at least 25 million times and much of the abusive content was easily identifiable. Users were able to adopt hashtags that were overtly anti-Muslim. Posts supporting the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory that formed the basis of Christchurch terrorist Brenton Tarrant’s ‘manifesto’ continue to be carried on the platforms.

So how does Musk’s purchase of Twitter potentially help to rid the world of such poison? Continue reading “The tweet that could cook Twitter’s goose”