Radio NZ’s Drug Campaigning – Views, not News.

Radio NZ’s coverage earlier this week of the Open Letter regarding decriminalising all drugs was atrociously bias, with no reference to any dissenting opinion.

In Morning Report alone, they had four items covering this issue, all from a bias perspective. There was not even a pretence of balance. The questions were all ‘friendly-fire’.

1. Drug laws hurt Māori most – Doctor

2. Group calling on government to overhaul of Misuse of Drugs Act

3. High powered group calling on government to reform overhaul Misuse of Drugs Act

4. Drug Foundation joins group calling for overhaul of Misuse of Drugs Act

All interviewees were from the Yes side of the cannabis debate.

These were all within the one 3-hour programme – Morning Report – which is supposed to feature “comprehensive coverage of local and world events”.

Obviously nothing else was happening in the world that particular morning. OR Radio NZ had a narrative that they wanted to strongly push.

During the afternoon’s The Panel, once again the guest was from the sponsoring organisation JustSpeak – who had already been interviewed on Morning Report.

Interestingly, when Radio NZ finally allowed pushback in the afternoon from Health Minister Andrew Little, Radio NZ immediately and appropriately sought a dissenting voice – but not one, but two!! (Chloe Swarbrick and JustSpeak).

The report also said that the signatories to the letter “bring together those on both sides of last year’s cannabis debate”. That was completely false and misleading. There is no signatory that was on the NO side (SayNopeToDope campaign). Of course, that would have made an interesting question for an inquiring media – why not?

Given the bias already identified in a report on the cannabis referendum coverage (including RNZ journalists)…

…one might have thought that some attempt would be made to give balance.

Obviously not.

Radio NZ have breached broadcasting standards that most listeners would expect.

Views – not news.