Some issues have been fomenting in my head for a while, and tonight, they finally came to a head. There was a similar discourse around the time of the cutting of funding to TVNZ 7, and I made some similar comments then, but these ideas seem to be fiendishly difficult to put down.
Some context: one of the few remaining current affairs shows in New Zealand that still does relatively “hard” journalism, Campbell Live, has come under review by its network, MediaWorks, with the underlying implication that it is likely to be cancelled soon. Campbell Live has been a force of advocacy journalism, championing those who have suffered in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake, and been a loud critic of the government on issues such as child poverty.
The prospect of the loss of Campbell Live is nothing short of tragic. It is one of the sole places in primetime in the New Zealand broadcast spectrum where key issues related to the public interest are raised and discussed. While there have been a couple of occasions when these may have had a political bent, for the most part John Campbell and his team have been about speaking truth to power, no matter who that power is, and standing up for those who are not able to stand up for themselves. Sometimes this is about the individual, and other times it is about entire segments of the population who are without a voice.