Wednesday, 24 February 2010


We were quite perturbed to find a story over on Kiwiblog re the Radio NZ - Blood money junket to Iran. Farrar picked up a document we showed him at lunch and has run it as a scoop. What a tosser!.

This was the missive from RNZ spinner John Barr yesterday - note the declaration that the Iranian propaganda machine IRIB Islamic revolution of Iran Broadcasting Agency is parting with blood money so the NZ journalists can attend an international radio talkfest they are sponsoring.

John Barr 2/22/2010 2:05 PM

Two blog sites ( dont forget the NBR )- not a blog site but main stream media ) are currently running a story that Radio New Zealand is being sponsored by the Islamic Republic of Iran. To clarify the position for staff, two Radio New Zealand staff members have been invited to take part in an international radio festival and conference in Iran, but the
invitation came not from the IRIB organisers but the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, the umbrella agency for public broadcasting in our region. Our staff are not representing Radio New Zealand, but are attending on behalf of ABU, and if that organisation had not issued the invitation, they would
not be attending. All the costs of the trip will be reimbursed by the IRIB. No programme-making or gathering of content for air on Radio New Zealand will be done during the attendance at the event.

Then we got a copy of an internal email trying to shed some " light" on the issue.

Its the one Farrar must have sifted from us at lunch.

Email dated 23rd March

As staff may be aware, there has been some ill-informed discussion on some blog sites regarding the attendance of two Radio New Zealand staff at an upcoming radio festival in Iran.

Some background information on this issue, which has been provided in response to a query from the New Zealand Herald, is attached to this email for the information of staff.

Peter Cavanagh
Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief

ABU Invitation

Spoken Features Manager, Paul Bushnell, and Executive Producer of Drama, Adam Macaulay, have been invited by the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) to be its representatives at a radio forum and training workshops to be held in Iran in May. The same ABU of which RNZ is a member

This approach was initiated by the ABU. Without a request from the ABU, Radio New Zealand would not be attending this event. Note the Iranian broadcaster is on the the ABU council.

The ABU is the umbrella organisation for public broadcasters in the Asia-Pacific region, representing around 200 broadcasters and broadcasting organisations from more than 60 countries. Radio New Zealand and TVNZ are both members of the ABU, as are the BBC and the ABC in Australia.

The radio workshops are an ABU event designed to help train broadcasters from the developing world. The radio forum is an event organized by the ABU and hosted by the Iranian state broadcaster, IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting).

The two Radio New Zealand employees will be attending both events as representatives of the ABU, not as representatives of Radio New Zealand. As ABU representatives they will conduct training workshops, act as jury members for various awards and participate in forum discussions dealing with subjects such as radio features production and online broadcasting.

They will not be taking leave to attend. So they are being paid by RNZ but not representing RNZ???? So the taxpayers are paying their salary while they are guests of a corrupt regime?

Their attendance is in line with Radio New Zealand’s commitment to the ABU and other organisations such as the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) to assist in the training of broadcasters from developing countries.

There will be no cost to Radio New Zealand. Under a separate arrangement between the ABU and the IRIB, the costs of all ABU representatives attending the event are covered by the host broadcaster.

So Iranian blood money is being used to fund the junket!

International attendance at this year’s event has not yet been finalized. By way of example however the event was attended by the BBC in 2008 and Australia’s ABC in 2009.

It is a tribute to the international professional standing of Radio New Zealand and the two individual staff members concerned that the ABU has asked them to be their representatives at this event.

No programme-making or content gathering activity will take place during this event and no material from the event will be used on air by Radio New Zealand.

And this is the organisation that has the temerity to claim that it will be tainted if it forced to accept sponsorship from big business?? So its okay for to take sponsorship from a corrupt regime thats very existence is based on the supression of freedom but not okay to have commercial sponsorship?

And then we have this small issue that Ace journo David Cohen of NBR has uncovered.

EPMU to launch Walkley media magazine

The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union hopes to broaden the debate about the role of journalism in New Zealand with the launch of Australia’s leading media magazine, The Walkley, in Wellington this evening and in Auckland tomorrow evening.

The launches will feature a keynote speech from Chris Warren, secretary of the Australian Media Alliance and immediate past president of the International Federation of Journalists, about the challenges facing journalism in New Zealand and Australia.

Brent Edwards, chair of the EPMU print and media industry council, says the magazine has potential to make a significant contribution to journalism in New Zealand.

The Walkley has been published for decades by a foundation set up by our sister union, the Australian Media Alliance, and has made a huge contribution to Australian journalism. It’s a great privilege to be able to work with the Alliance to make the magazine a transtasman publication.

“We’re hoping The Walkley will not only inform journalists here but also provoke a wider debate about the role of journalism and how we practice it in New Zealand and Australia.

“This is a critical time for journalism in this country and we hope working journalists will take the opportunity to contribute to the magazine and get that debate going.”

Chris Warren says he’s pleased to welcome New Zealand journalists into the Walkley community.

“This gives us an opportunity to discuss and debate issues that affect us across Australia and New Zealand. We’ve got a lot to share and a lot to learn in what is becoming an increasingly common media space – same employers, same challenges, same issues.”

The first transtasman edition of The Walkley will feature Brent Edwards writing about the EPMU’s Journalism Matters campaign and Gael Woods on the debate over how name suppression and contempt of court should apply to bloggers.

Journalists, whether union or non-union, are invited to the Wellington launch this evening at the Connolly Hall, Guildford Tce (behind Sacred Heart Church, Hill street) from 6-8pm, and the Auckland launch tomorrow from 6-8pm upstairs at the Shakespeare.

For more information about The Walkley visit


Apparently Brent Edwards and Gael Woods, both high profile RNz staffers and lefty unionists are allowed to write about highly political articles in union publications...

Something its not okay for Sean Plunket to do..

So we think its time for RNZ to stop pretending that it is a bastion of political neutrality when in fact it is a hotbed of leftist views and staff are prepared to suck up to corrupt regimes for a junket to the other side of the world.

Time for a new board .....

1 comment:

Marty Mars said...

i thought it was funny that you weren't mentioned on kiwiblog given that you broke the story as far as I could tell