Surely they saw this coming?

Gerry Brownlee has said what was bleeding obvious from the moment the media started a campaign for special rights and privileges over and above anyone else.

These are the unintended consequences that Stephen Franks blogged about the other day.

Press Gallery chairwoman and Herald deputy political editor Claire Trevett told the committee the Parliamentary Service had no authority to hand over swipe card information – which could be used to track Ms Vance’s movements around the parliamentary complex – or logs of which numbers she called from her office phone.

As well as asking Parliament to recognise the central role of the news media in a healthy democracy the Press Gallery has asked that, where in future Parliamentary Service was asked for information it holds on any accredited political reporter, it referred the request to the Speaker for further consideration and consultation with the reporter, their employer and the Press Gallery.

But Mr Brownlee said he found it “slightly ironic” the gallery was asking for that protection when Ms Vance had published details of a report that at the time was “clearly not in the public arena and not at that point for public consumption”.

“What is the difference here?” 

The media bleating was as monumental as it was shortsighted.

Ms Trevett said the Kitteridge GCSB report wasn’t personal information, she presumed the person who passed it to Ms Vance had lawful access to it, and the classified status of the document didn’t extend to it being a matter of national security.

The sensitivity of the report related to “just political inconvenient timing” of its release.

Mr Brownlee asked at which point the gallery believed it would acceptable to release information about a journalist held by the Parliamentary Service.

Ms Trevett said at issue was the protection of a journalist’s source, a matter which is covered by law.

“If they’re required to by the courts I assume they would have to hand it over but they can’t go out willy-nilly handing that information out.”

Mr Brownlee went on to question whether if similar information about a person other than a reporter came into the possession of a reporter that they would seek permission from that person to use it in a news report.

Ms Trevett said that was up to individual reporters and news outlets.

“So you want us to have a policy but the gallery has no policy?”, Mr Brownlee asked.

But Ms Trevett said journalists didn’t have the same obligations to those they had information about as Parliamentary Service did to those whose email, phone and swipe card access records it held.

“If the information is of public interest it’s our responsibility to report it. People make judgement calls but we don’t hold the information ourselves we’re not in control of releasing it.”

Let’s hope Claire Trevett remembers that little definition when someone decides it is in the public interest to start picking apart the lives of journalists in the same way they do it to other people.

Nice to see it confirmed that journalists don’t think they have the same obligations or responsibilities as everyone else….they can hold people to account but must never, ever be held to account themselves.

The tide has turned on the media, they just don’t know it.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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