Who’s fit to do the job?
Last week Maori TV was copping flak for daring to go for the 2011 Rugby World Cup broadcasting rights.
Poor old Maori Affairs Minister Pete Sharples was made to apologise to his bosses for okaying the plan for $3 million of Te Puni Kokiri’s cash to help with funding.
As I said last week, the criticism was nonsense. There was no need for any apology. Maori TV had every right to put in its bid to the International Rugby Board.
There’s nothing in the law that says Maori TV has to be a tiny hori ghetto with the big national events as the exclusive preserve of mainstream Pakeha broadcasters.
Nor is there – and this is what deserves attention – anything that demands radio and TV broadcasters remain, generation after generation, so clumsy and incompetent in dealing with Maori issues.
The reason we now have Maori radio and TV is that mainstream broadcasters weren’t doing their job.
They were ignoring significant Maori news – even when it had, as it usually does, consequences for the rest of the country.
They were usually mucking up, or beat- ing up, the stories they did tackle. They rarely made any provision for Maori language, and with exceptions like National Radio’s Geoff Robinson, there was no one professional enough to nail Maori pronunciation.
What’s changed? Bugger all.
There are a few more like Geoff today, a few more pros – and a number of others, John Campbell for instance, who are getting there.
But the airwaves are dominated by bungletongued broadcasters with too little respect for Maori issues or te reo, or for our Pacific Island mates, to get their acts together.
If it really was a high priority for them or their bosses, there’d be major changes. There’d be a cleanout almost everywhere.
Michael Laws would be gone from Radio Live and there’d be virtually no one left standing on Newstalk ZB. No Murray Deaker doing sport and not too many left on Radio Sport.
There would only be a handful of survivors on TV One and TV3.
So it’s a bit rich to be fussing over the limitations of Maori TV when the big boys are so far off the pace. That’s what needs fixing.