Peters’ attacks on journalists ‘could have a chilling effect’

Winston Peters may be trying to emulate Donald Trump’s approach to journalists – attacking them when he doesn’t like what they say.

Long time RNZ journalist and now E tū journalist representative, Brent Edwards, says this could have ‘a chilling effect’ on New Zealand journalism.

E tū calls on Deputy PM to abandon harassment of journalists

The journalists’ union, E tū is calling on the Deputy Prime Minister, Winston Peters, to abandon his harassment of journalists who reported he had been overpaid New Zealand Superannuation.

Mr Peters has already gone to the High Court demanding Newshub journalist, Lloyd Burr and Newsroom co-editor, Tim Murphy provide their phone records, notes and documents related to the superannuation story which ran during the election campaign.

Newsroom reports he has now also told the High Court in Auckland he wants to be paid monetary damages by the two journalists.

E tū’s journalist representative, Brent Edwards says Mr Peters’ attacks on the journalists could have a chilling effect on New Zealand journalism.

The union is also deeply disturbed to find out that in his statement to the court, Mr Peters labelled Lloyd Burr a “National Party political activist”.

Brent says this attack is reprehensible and similar to attacks on journalists in countries like the Philippines, where press freedom and journalists’ safety is taken much less seriously by the Government there.

“As Foreign Minister, Mr Peters should uphold his obligation to support press freedom and journalists’ safety around the world, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region,” says Brent.

“If Mr Peters continues to target journalists in New Zealand in an attempt to muzzle them, he does nothing for this country’s reputation abroad as a healthy democracy which values and supports press freedom.”

The media situation in New Zealand is a lot different to the US.

Peters has been given a lot of help by media in the past, both in campaigns and in promoting attacks on opponents.

He may find that help drying up somewhat.

The legal action may have a chilling effect on journalists, but there may also be a chilling effect on Winston’s access to favourable publicity. He is biting the hand that feeds his campaigns.

7 Comments

  1. J Bloggs

     /  November 30, 2017

    I suspect Winston is done and dusted with politics after this term, so keeping the ournos onside is no longer as important as it once may have been.

    Alternatively, he’s picking that in 3 years time, his ability to generate a story will outweigh any past animosity.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 30, 2017

    Do I get this right? Winston wants journalists to pay him for publishing the truth about him?

    • Missy

       /  November 30, 2017

      He’s feeling the pinch after being found out for collecting too much super. Must have to buy the cheaper whisky these days, not the expensive single malt!

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  November 30, 2017

        I don’t think that that was deliberate, but it was careless and sloppy and if I were him, I would be quietly ignoring it and hoping that everyone would forget it. He would have been better to have said ‘My mistake.’ and let it go. We have all made errors on forms, like putting our names the wrong way round,* but in his position, he can’t be seen to be so careless about reading things properly.

        Alan-when the Waikato Times wanted to do an article on the local girl who came 2nd in one NZ Idol series, she wanted $25,000. All she got was a brief article saying that the WT had wanted to do a what-they’re-doing-now story, but that as they had been asked to pay $25,000 for the privilege of giving someone free publicity, they weren’t going to .

        *I have more than once put myself down as Catkin Kitty. Why there isn’t a universal order for these things, I don’t know.

  3. Gezza

     /  November 30, 2017

    So far, just standard Winston, imo, with the customary complete disregard for any relevant constraints, considerations, & consequences. And for the usual reason. Deputy PMs tend to be invisible most the time. Who’s the spotlight on?

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