Following the resignation of reporter Mihingarangi Forbes last week from Maori’s TV’s Native Affairs programme, the Labour Party is calling for assurances on Maori TV editorial independence.
Minister of Maori Affairs Te Ururoa Flavell must seek immediate assurances from the Chair and CEO of Maori Television that editorial independence at Maori TV has not been compromised, explains Labour’s broadcasting spokesperson Clare Curran.
“The shock resignation of prominent and respected reporter Mihingarangi Forbes last week from Maori TV’s Native Affair’s programme has exposed further rifts within the publicly funded broadcaster,” Curran says.
“The Minister’s silence is worrying on what was discussed with Maori TV CEO Paora Maxwell the day before a decision was made to axe a panel discussion on Whanau Ora on the current affairs show Native Affairs.”
Curran adds, “Labour has also been informed of another decision to axe a further story on Te Kohanga Reo.”
Curran says Labour raised significant concerns in Parliament before Maxwell was appointed to the job. “A board member resigned over the appointment process. The appointment went ahead regardless. Since then several very senior and highly respected staff have left,” she says.
“In May last year in accepting the resignation of the Head of News and Current affairs Julian Wilcox, Paora Maxwell said ‘Maori Television accepts Mr Wilcox's written statement and we will continue to value our editorial independence in providing impartial and independent news coverage of significant regional and national stories from a Māori perspective.’
“The Minister must be assured that impartial and independent coverage has been maintained in this case.,” Curran says.
“He needs to step in and demand an explanation.”