Gavin Ellis is a media consultant, commentator and researcher. He holds a doctorate in political studies. A former editor-in-chief of the New Zealand Herald, he is the author of Trust Ownership and the Future of News: Media Moguls and White Knights (London, Palgrave) and Complacent Nation (Wellington, BWB Texts). His consultancy clients include media organisations and government ministries. His Tuesday Commentary on media matters appears weekly on his site www.whiteknightnews.com
The following is a submission I made to the Ministry of Justice on 28 July 2021 relating to planned amendments to legislation for the control of hate speech.
My name is Gavin Peter Ellis. I am a media researcher and consultant. Formerly, I was editor-in-chief of the New Zealand Herald and a senior lecturer in politics and communications at the University of Auckland. I hold a Doctor of Philosophy degree in political studies. I am the author of two books and numerous articles on media. I am currently engaged (with a colleague from Melbourne University) in a study of media coverage of the Christchurch mosque attacks and subsequent prosecution. Our first paper can be accessed at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1177083X.2019.1705358. I am a former chair of the Media Freedom Committee ( a forum of all mainstream New Zealand media) and was recipient of the Commonwealth Astor Award for services to press freedom. In 2015 I was inducted as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to journalism.
It is a tragic fact that new media protocols for dealing with acts of terrorism in New Zealand have benefitted from experience.
The protocols were negotiated by the Media Freedom Committee and officials led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. They are an updated version of protocols first negotiated in 2004 and implemented the following year.
The updated version is clearly informed by the events in Christchurch in 2019. The preamble begins by saying that the mosque attacks “removed any doubt that New Zealand’s remoteness provided us with immunity from terrorism”.
Let’s get cooking. Take one set of commercial radio ratings. Slice and dice. Mix ingredients. Bake in a hot oven.
It produces winners every time. Note the plural. It’s there because both major commercial radio operators claim they baked the best cake in the second GfK commercial ratings survey of the year.
NZME crowed that Newstalk ZB “has continued its upward trajectory while retaining its position as New Zealand’s number one network”. Meanwhile MediaWorks claimed The Breeze was the top music station and had “the most listeners of all commercial radio stations”.