Hugh Perrett, a member of the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame, is the former managing director of Foodstuffs and founder of the Pak n' Save discount grocery chain.
Sunday, September 5, 2021
Hugh Perrett: A State-Controlled Press?Labels: Hugh Perrett, Jacinda Ardern's Totalitarian Government, State-controlled press
Recently a politically concerned member of my coffee club, submitted and then re-submitted 4 or 5 separate letters to the newspaper for consideration for publication as “letters to the editor,” all of which were rejected for publication.
He claimed each letter covered a distinct, separate, political issue of significant interest to the community and more particularly, of very serious concern to many people in the community.
Other similar experiences were related to us by other members of the club.
In defence of the publishers and the newspaper industry in general, I fully understand and accept that they get a large number of submissions and are under no obligation to publish any particular letter(s) simply because it/they have been submitted.
However, most of the published letters I have read in my local newspaper are relatively innocuous/mundane in themselves or are about relatively innocuous or mundane topics.
With the exception of Covid, which is obviously currently very topical, there seem to be no letters published which put Government’s other very controversial, discriminatory and threatening policies, procedures, practices and actions under serious examination or scrutiny, particularly when it is considered that NONE of them were disclosed, discussed or mandated during the election process.
Such letters just do not seem to get published.
I would have thought that traditionally, one of the central purposes/functions of a newspaper in a democracy, would be to provide a platform to facilitate such public scrutiny and examination.
I am sure newspapers in general are aware that rumours are at large in the community that Government has in effect “bought/suborned” the press and perverted them from this role, ie one of their basic traditional purposes/roles - of providing a platform for scrutinising Government policies and actions and putting them under the spotlight.
This is a very serious allegation of course, because it implies the press has surrendered its soul and its integrity to the Government and, further, and most importantly, has abdicated from a traditional and very important part of its purpose/role.
In my opinion/experience, maintaining a proper customer-focus, usually a central feature of a top, well run business, would almost certainly have precluded this from even being considered, let alone happening.
The public NEEDS a vehicle which provides them with the ability to question and scrutinise Government policies, practices, procedures and actions.
Is the press able to honestly and unequivocally, completely reassure us, the public, that it has NOT SURRENDERED ITS INDEPENDENCE - that the above allegations have no substance?
The casual evidence, aside from the rumours, based on personal observation, and received comment from the observations and experiences of others, is that the allegations may have substance.
It certainly raises a concern as to whether we in effect have a State-controlled press?
at 9:07 AM