Submission on proposals against incitement of hatred and discrimination in Aotearoa New Zealand

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.

I wish to make the following observations on proposals to amend legislation in relation to proposals against incitement and discrimination in Aotearoa New Zealand. Continue reading “Submission on proposals against incitement of hatred and discrimination in Aotearoa New Zealand”

NZ media in existential crisis

The following is a submission I made today to the Parliamentary Epidemic Response Select Committee chaired by Simon Bridges. The committee sat for four hours hearing from media groups about the effect of the Covid-19 crisis. I said I could not over-emphasise the urgency of the issues facing our commercial media. One chief executive told me the industry needed to be “immediately put in emergency triage”. However, like all emergency care, that is only the beginning and I urged the adoption of a three-stage process to create a new, sustainable media ecosystem. Continue reading “NZ media in existential crisis”

Aggregation of editorial power

New Zealand’s two major newspaper groups, Fairfax New Zealand and NZME have announced their intention to merge and have lodged an application with the Commerce Commission seeking its approval for the union.

The commission invited submissions on the application. I made a submission on the basis that, should it grant the application, the commission impose conditions to overcome potential issues that could have serious civic and democratic implications.

The Commission’s State of Preliminary Issues addressed a number of issues relating to readers but did so largely in the context of the relationship between NZME/Fairfax and competing media. My submission suggested that it must also examine a number of issues that were not relational but internal and regulatory. Specifically, these relate to the aggregation of editorial power and regulatory influence. This is my submission: Continue reading “Aggregation of editorial power”