New Zealand’s mainstream media need to make sure they include the voices of the very people they report on says the Human Rights Commission.
Last night on Maori Television’s Native Affairs show the Commission launched “Talking About Ourselves” a scan of 2014 mainstream news items relating to race relations carried out by the company Mediamine.
“The media play an influential role in how we understand or misunderstand each other and it’s a role that’s grown with the internet as well as our rapidly changing demographic,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.
“We dehumanise people when we write stories about them but fail to give them a voice. Is it fair to write a news article about Maori and Asian New Zealanders without interviewing and including their voices in your story?”
Dame Susan says the overwhelming majority of news items were acceptable but we can do a lot better.
“We found fewer positive stories about Maori issues and conversely more negative stories written about Maori issues. It shows how inured many of us have become to mainstream portrayals of Maori New Zealanders and their human rights,” said Dame Susan.
“We encourage fairness, balance and excellence in reporting on all communities.”
Dame Susan says internationally more countries are monitoring the way their media report on race so we decided to look at the way race is reported on in our media and we invited New Zealanders to have a look at Talking About Ourselves and to make their own minds up.
To find out more please read our Talking About Ourselves report here.