Charlotte Bellis faces perils outside ‘enemy territory’

I had a flashback to another New Zealand foreign correspondent as I watched Al Jazeera journalist Charlotte Bellis reporting on the entry of the Taliban into Kabul.

My mind went back 30 years to the bombing of Baghdad when Peter Arnett reported nightly amid the thunder and flash of bombs and anti-aircraft fire.

Bellis has not had to face the same pyrotechnics but Taliban firing their AK-47s into the air can be just as deadly if they alter their aim.

However, that was not the comparison that came into my mind. I was reminded of the perils of reporting from ‘enemy territory’. Continue reading “Charlotte Bellis faces perils outside ‘enemy territory’”

Please don’t quote me on that

Confidentiality is an ethical cornerstone that is drummed into journalists. The public may not have the same understanding of its obligations and limits.

Last Friday (Black Friday the 13th as it happened) a story appeared in Stuff titles and its website revealing worrying levels of online harassment and threats against Māori women. Several wāhine were named and pictured in the double-page spread, which also documented far-right threats against prominent Pakeha women.

Following publication, five women, three of whom had been named in the story, signed an open letter saying they had been ‘retraumatised’ by the story and accused Stuff of breaching “agreed terms of privacy” for one of the signatories and including information relating to others against their consent “in a way that left them exposed and identifiable”. The letter claimed Stuff had “failed to keep us safe”. Continue reading “Please don’t quote me on that”

MediaWorks review a wakeup call for whole industry

The media outlets that reported and commented so fulsomely about a Queen’s Counsel’s damning report on the culture within broadcaster MediaWorks now face their own challenge. Will they turn the spotlight on themselves?

Each organisation has its own culture, and it would be wrong – or at least premature – to tar them with the same brush. However, there are common elements that suggest few are likely to have an entirely clean bill of cultural health.

Media mix a rare cocktail in their workplaces. Its ingredients are celebrity, competitiveness, ego, elitism, hardness, pressure, pride, tribalism, and a varying number of secret herbs and spices that make it a unique industry. The taste of the cocktail will change from workplace to workplace but there are enough common ingredients to leave drinkers with a sore head. Continue reading “MediaWorks review a wakeup call for whole industry”

RNZ thrown by horns of dilemma

Radio New Zealand has just discovered that a bull will toss you no matter which horn you grasp.

The particular horns it found itself upon belonged to the dilemma over whether it should broadcast material obtained illegally.

This was not another Rawshark data dump from Cameron Slater’s Dirty Politics email server. It related to material placed on the Dark Web by a group of international cyber extortionists. Continue reading “RNZ thrown by horns of dilemma”