Broadcasting Act

Is it now legal to use TV and radio to run mean-spirited, hatchet-job attack ads on your political enemies? I decided to find out ... so here's a reprise of what happened, having previously been recounted over at The Spinoff.

In October last year I wrote a somewhat lengthy post about the Court of Appeal's decision in The Electoral Commission v Watson & Jones.

The Court of Appeal's decision on the Planet Key's legal status means that we are likely to see and hear a lot more political advertising. And it also renders the Government's just announced reforms of party political broadcasts completely out of date.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeal handed down its decision on the Electoral Commission's appeal in the "Planet Key" case, The Electoral Commission v Watson & Jones. You may remember the song and video at the heart of that case.

If the NZ Herald wants its editorials to be taken seriously, it should stop using them to mislead its readers.

While I'm waiting on my copy of Nicky Hager's Dirty Tricks to arrive so that I can join the interweb's great topic de jour, a quick cut-and-paste response to today's NZ Herald's editorial.

Was “The Prime Minister’s Hour” on Radio Live a prohibited election programme? The Electoral Commission says “yes” – the Broadcasting Standards Authority says “no”. And the row needs to be resolved.

Broadcasting Standards Authority chair Peter Radich blames the Broadcasting Act. He says it is “old and open to interpretation” He is right on both counts – but wrong on the central issue raised in the row over Prime Minister John Key’s hour-long stint as a show host on Radio Live in the run-up to the last election.

Putting the Prime Minister on the radio for an hour to show listeners what a nice guy he is "appears to encourage or persuade voters to vote for a political party or the election of any person at an election". Who'd a thunk it?

Just a very quick note on the Electoral Commission's decision to refer the "Prime Minister's Hour" on Radio Live to the Police as a potential breach of the Broadcasting Act.