Who’s fit to do the job?

Central Leader - - News -

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.

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