TV3 banned from New Zealand Parliament for three days

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Monday, August 28, 2006

House Speaker Margaret Wilson told New Zealand television station TV3, owned by Canwest, they are banned from recording New Zealand Parliament for three days.

The ban comes after they showed footage of the New Zealand First Member of Parliament (MP) Ron Mark repeatedly pulling his middle finger at National MP Tau Henare on August 1.

TV3's ban will come into force tomorrow.

The Parliament's media rules state that only the Speaker or an MP who is standing and speaking can be recorded. TV3 broke this rule as Mark was sitting during his gestures.

"The rules are arcane. We were only showing what would have been observed by members of the public if they had been sitting in the public gallery on that day," said the Director of News and Current Affairs for TV3, Mark Jennings. "Politicians behaving badly is a news story, and the public have a right to see what is really going on in the debating Chamber."

"We will accept our punishment and get on with our job, but it is time politicians took responsibility for their behaviour and stopped shooting the messenger," Jennings said.

"That argument was not accepted last year, and I do not accept it now", Ms Wilson says referring to a breach of the rules last year.

"In addition, this time TV3 repeated the shots in question even though it knew they were in breach of the rules. This was clearly a premeditated breach."