A reader emails about not being media

A reader emails:

Dear Cameron

Well it looks like Judge Charles Blackie has quite clearly judged ‘Whale Oil Beef Hooked’ not to be a news medium. It is interesting he makes reference to a Law Commission report. I was initially impressed when he referenced this Commission until I realised that this Commission has no legal authority but can only make recommendation to Parliament regarding areas of the law. The Commission has no more legal authority than any single individual person.

The Honourable Judge did not reference a report by Auckland University of Technology’s Journalism, Media and Democracy Centre which arguably has a greater understanding of the position and  role of NZ’s blogosphere. Report author and AUT communication studies lecturer Merja Myllylahti said more people were turning to New Zealand’s “blogosphere” for information. She is quoted as saying  “It is not surprising that citizen journalists and bloggers have started to take a more active role. The blogosphere is thriving right now because it provides an alternative to commercially focused media. The use of the word ‘alternative’ is significant. 

It is hard to understand the Honourable Judge’s assessment that your media blog is not “a means for the dissemination to the public or a section of the public of news and observation on news”. The 760,000 people clicked into your media blog each month certainly represents a section of the public. I am sure that they are seeking news or observation on news and not using your media blog as a screen saver.

Enough said this is an important issue for the freedom of expression for every New Zealand person and I sincerely hope that you are able to have support and resources to take this matter for appeal to the High Court. As such I am willing to contribute $500 to a legal cost fund. If every person of a like mind or even a people of opposite opinion contributed perhaps $10 to see this matter resolved in the High Court the status of media blogs could be resolved in an open and clear manner.

The latest stats show continued growth. We cracked 1 million visits for the month.


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  • GazzW

    I suggest that you open up a ‘fighting fund’ account & give us the details Cameron.

    • Nechtan

      I’m in.

      • 1951

        Done already under ‘Whale rescue’…. as a thought, if the said judge is using the law commission recommendation as/for/in-the-absence of the actual written word in law, could that not be seen as ‘judicial activism’ that Leighton fears is creeping in to our system…..?

    • Frenchie

      I agree – Cam has provided a Kiwibank account number in one of his earlier posts today.

      • dyannt

        The post that includes the Kiwibank account number is “Oh look I’m making the news again.”

        I’m in. Won’t go through till Monday night though.
        Electronic banking – so why doesn’t it work every day of the week???

        • FFS man, computers need a weekend off too you know.

          • Bunswalla

            Haha the computers are just fine. But the banks make a SHITLOAD of money by having all those transfers on the overnight spot market for two clear days. The inter-bank clearing system is a cross between a ponzi scheme and a house of cards, but it seems to work. At least from the banks’ perspective, anyway.

          • Actually, interesting you brought that up. I recall someone earlier in the year, perhaps it was last year saying the same thing.

    • Orange
    • Kiwibank 38-9010-0764240-01


      • Muffin

        This is the number for fighting fund donations? If so ill pop 100 in first thing.

        • Yes sir it is.

          • CheesyEarWax

            $100 done.

          • Muffin

            $100 done, going to setup a $25 per month payment as well, just until he figures out how he wants to go forward.

      • Fanny_Schmelar

        Hi Travis / Cam, out of pure curiosity, I would be interested to know how much Whale’s account goes up by tomorrow. If the fund grows to something like I suspect it might, it will renew my faith in the Army, and confirm that we aren’t just a bunch of blow hard wanabee’s I’m hoping we’re not. Cam is now fighting this fight on behalf of all bloggers, I think we all realise how important it is that he wins. No need for exact numbers, a ball-park figure would be fine. Cheers,

        • A question solely for Cam, I don’t have sufficient permissions to monitor his bank account ;)

      • TreeCrusher

        I’ve donated $50 to the cause.

        Keep on fighting Cam. Certainly a source of news for me, and from my point of view one that is far more transparent than the others I follow. Whether I agree or not I never have to rant at Whaleoil for not telling the whole story in order to fulfil an ideological point of view. All to often the MSM leave out some salient facts that would otherwise scuttle the angle of their story.

  • Cowgirl


  • OrphanIsland

    I start to see what’s happening now Cameron.

    These rulings should be considered unfair trading and business practices and favouritism, if an advertising bureau wont accept you are a valid news/content provider then you have just cause to claim monopolistic business practices and uncompetitive business practices from them.

  • ratmuncher

    While The Law Commissions Report is a recommendation it is more likely to become law than an individuals opinion. Also Whale oil should qualify as a News Media under their findings. Even the herald acknowledged you as a news source saying you broke the story about Brown.
    I would chip $100.00 to get this cleared up

  • Michael

    I’m sure that Whaleoil and Cam have a bigger reach that some of our provincial – ,like the Greymouth Star, Gisborne Herald, Taranaki Daily News, Southland Times and other small provincial papers. That they have protection for their sources but Whaleoil does not shows a mindset that is not open to Internet based newspapers.

    The Huffington Post and the Drudge Report are prime examples of Internet news sites that have more reach than most newspapers. Whaleoil is just New Zealand’s example of these sites.

  • Tom

    “The Commission has no more legal authority than any single individual person”

    Oh yeah like the Waitangi Tribunial.

    • WABloke

      The biggest rort in NZ’s history. (Apart from vast tracts of land being sold/paid for multiple times of course.)

  • peterwn

    Judges can and do refer to ‘secondary’ resources such as legal reference, textbooks, Law Commission reports, etc. Judges however need not follow statements and recommendations in these resources, but may find them useful. If a judge does rely on something in these resources, and the matter is then appealed, the resource would need to be properly rebutted, rather than merely arguing it is irrelevant or of no precedential value. For example has Australian, UK or Canadian courts (at least at ‘High Court’ level) ruled on the ‘scope’ of a journalist. If so a NZ judge would be very interested in any such rulings.