TV3's flagship current affairs show dumped a news item involving controversial broadcaster Michael Laws minutes before it was due to air on Friday.

Campbell Live had planned to run a piece showing an angry Laws confronting a camera crew but pulled it on legal advice.

The news item was to screen a week after Laws' controversial comments on his RadioLive show in which he discussed shooting journalists.

He has been off air since then and will be off all this week.


MediaWorks spokeswoman Rachel Lorimer said the item was pulled for "legal reasons".

Asked about Laws' absence from the airwaves, she sent a statement from RadioLive boss Jana Rangooni which said there were "ongoing discussions" to do with the show.

"While these are being conducted, Mr Laws remains on leave. Neither RadioLive nor Mr Laws will be commenting until there is a resolution."

Laws sent the Herald on Sunday an email last week in which he said the comments were a joke. The email said the "definition of tongue-in-cheek" was "characterised by insincerity, irony or whimsical exaggeration". He did not return calls yesterday.

The Campbell Live item was promoted twice during the Friday night 6pm 3News bulletin. It carried a clip of Laws talking about shooting journalists before running an image of him demanding the camera crew leave his property.

RadioLive hosts Andrew Fagan and Karen Hay speculated on air over why the news item had not run.

The pair, who host an evening show, raised the possibility of executive interference.

Media7 producer Phil Wallington, who was interviewed for the item, also suggested interference.


"It is editorially derelict on the part of Campbell Live. They have no rigour in their editorial management.

"It is awful when sales, marketing and management can remove an important story," said Wallington. He said Laws was a "shock jock" whose show was a "theatre of cruelty".

He said the reporter who visited Laws had told him she needed "a flak jacket".