Francis Report – bullying, harasssment and the media

From the Independent Review into Bullying and Harassment in Parliament:


Members of the Press Gallery, while employees of media agencies, also work on precinct. Although Press Gallery staff are largely out of scope for this Review, the parliamentary agencies have health, safety and wellbeing obligations with regard to them.

It is also important that all those working in the parliamentary workplace comply with health and safety legislation as it relates to them in their interactions with others in the workplace.

A significant number of respondents – not all of them Members – commented on what they perceived as inappropriate behaviour by members of the Press Gallery or media more generally.

These respondents understood that onsite journalists, in the words of one: “…need to be really assertive, in their role working on behalf of the people of New Zealand to ensure an open democracy”.

But some felt that journalists in Parliament sometimes:
“Cross the line into disrespect in pursuit of clickbait. Their behaviour can further fuel the overall   environment of gossip and intrigue.”

One alleged, in a comment typical of several: “Gallery behaviour is unacceptable… they come in there perfectly nice people and then adopt this persona of the classic bully. You can watch it happen.”

Full report: Independent External Review into Bullying and Harassment in the New Zealand Parliamentary Workplace – Final Report

Political journalists do difficult but important jobs. They have a responsibility to inform the public of what happens in Parliament, and to hold politicians and the public service to account.

Most are also under pressure to keep their jobs, and to deliver news and views that attract viewers, readership, clicks and advertising.

They can potentially make or break political careers, and can influence elections.

They are also in positions of relative power, which can be abused.

They only get a brief mention in the Francis Report, but should take the criticisms seriously.

Leave a comment


  1. Duker

     /  22nd May 2019

    The ‘gallery’ is a formal group with president etc. What will they be doing……sound of silence broken only by the clinking of glasses

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  22nd May 2019

    Pack mentality stands out amongst most of them.

    • Gezza

       /  22nd May 2019

      I’ve noticed the same thing with politicians.

      • Ray

         /  22nd May 2019

        Thing is politicians are (in theory) are answerable to us, though in this case it seems mostly to their political leaders.
        The media not so much, they can lurk there for generations and have an influence way outside their real ability and because today’s news is tomorrow’s firelighter are answerable to no one other than there real owners.
        Hopefully there really will be a hard look at their place in the overall running of Parliament.

        • Gezza

           /  22nd May 2019

          Thing is politicians are (in theory) are answerable to us

          I gave up on that theory decades ago.


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