Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Former broadcasting minister Willie Jackson says Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is talking nonsense on the Public Interest Journalism Fund and the fact he has made a number of outrageous observations is “worrying”.
Peters on Monday continued to poke the media by referring to the $55 million fund as a bribe.
Jackson says the funding went to print, broadcast, mainstream, Māori and online media with no conditions about reporting on Government activities.
“The guy is sort of losing the plot here, talking about the media being bribed. We gave out a sum to support media outlets, in the middle of Covid, gave them the opportunity to survive. Just because we were funding them doesn’t mean they were obliged to talk on our behalf.”
Jackson says National voters must be wondering what they voted for with New Zealand First and Act seeming to dominate the Government’s programme.
“Winston Peters is the new Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand and it is his obligation to now behave responsibly,” Jackson said on Facebook.
“His outrageous accusation that the $55 million dollar Public Interest Journalism Fund was a bribe to control the media is a conspiracy theory as weird as his claim that Jacinda knew about the Christchurch shooter and his accusation that Harry Tam had taken a sex worker with Covid through checkpoints.
“This is deeply worrying behaviour from New Zealand’s most experienced and oldest politician because he’s behaving more like Sean Plunket than the Deputy Prime Minister of the country.
“The Public Interest Journalism Fund was introduced during Covid because it was a disastrous time in terms of media and we were pressured by good people out there to say, ‘hey, you support financial institutions so how about supporting local media that’s struggling’.
“It was aimed at supporting New Zealand media to keep producing stories and was not just for RNZ and for TVNZ.
“We never ever had any editorial control over anything anyone wrote, and that’s the truth. For Winston to insinuate some conspiracy is absolute disinformation and falsehoods.
“If this new far right Government is prepared to lie and deceive right from the start, we will expect them to continue.
“They should be ashamed of Winston’s embarrassing behaviour.”
Joseph Los’e joined NZME in 2022 as Kaupapa Māori Editor. Los’e was a chief reporter, news director at the Sunday News newspaper covering crime, justice and sport. He was also editor of the NZ Truth and prior to joining NZME worked for 12 years for Te Whānau o Waipareira.