Mainstream media, as the purveyors of truth and source of balanced information, have taken another backward step with the announcement by Stuff that most New Zealand organisations had joined 170 media outlets from around the world in the 'Covering Climate Now' project.

The last bastion for protecting free speech, which indeed advocates for independent and informed thought, has been media. Stuff's announcement shows how far we have strayed from this value.

With the comment by Stuff editor-in-chief Patrick Crewsdon that the aim will be to "make the realities of climate change feel urgent, tangible and unignorable for New Zealanders," it is clear that the objective is to present selective information designed to adjust public thought to what some think 'should' be thought.

One of the principles of free speech is that there be opportunity for open, informed discourse on important issues. When the media advise that they will present information that dictates the conclusions that are to be reached, they fail the foundations upon which journalism was built.

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Working extensively with young people and at-risk youth, I am only too aware of the stresses and anxiety that exist. Failing to present balanced and detailed information, and robbing individuals of the ability to draw their own conclusions, is unnecessarily adding to a sense of despair and panic.

This approach, to manipulate mainstream media leading up to the United Nations Climate Action Summit, is irresponsible, and does a disservice to those working in journalism who are committed to presenting facts rather than opinion.

New Conservative believes that to achieve real pollution solutions we must have information that can be relied upon, and most New Zealanders rely on media sources to at least introduce this information.

To have a media outlet as popular as Stuff openly state that they will only present information that pre-determines public opinion highlights the importance of protecting the freedom of individuals to openly debate issues of the day.