Defended by a Herald journalist as well

The Kiwi Journalists Association has a Facebook Group (funny for someone not a journalist I am a member of it…and it is only open for journalists to belong) has a lengthy discussion about me and my appeal.

There is some useful and fair (Rob Hosking) others snobby, wanky, pretentious, and lefty ( Geoff Lealand, Gavin Ellis etc ).

But this comment from Peter Calder brings things to a perfect summary of where things are at and where they should be.

Peter Calder: Gavin Ellis For the record, I regard Slater’s work as odious and repellent. But the relevant section prescribes that a news medium must “[disseminate] to the public or a section of the public … news and observations on news”. It does not say that the observations must be from various sources, just that they be plural.

I can’t see why Slater would be disqualified.

And I am most surprised to see that you and Geoff Lealand, both with academic credentials, would seek to reclassify Slater (you implicitly; Geoff Lealand explicitly) according to the ***quality*** of his contribution to debate. Quality is not mentioned in the definition: if it were, there are many columnists I can think of who should be seeking legal advice before relying on unidentified informants and hoping to rely on the confidentiality of sources. 

Further, either the confidentiality of sources is worth protecting or it is not. If the law doesn’t distinguish between a muckracking purveyor of vile innuendo and a distinguished political commentator, shall we? If so, on what grounds and by what criteria?

I always hark back to the Skokie case here, which those who don’t know about can google. If a principle is worth defending, it is worth defending even when the individuals in whose defence we stand up are indefensible.

I particularly love the comment “a muckracking purveyor of vile innuendo”. Beautiful. Thank you Peter.

Previous posts on muckrakers here.

Rob Hosking adds his two cents worth:

Rob Hosking Diana Clement – the NBR piece isn’t behind the paywall – and its just a repeat of Steven Price’s piece from his own Medialawjournal blog.

On wider issues…I have an instinctive reaction against any sort of government regulation of journalism, for pretty much the reasons Brent Anthony Edwards outlines.

Just because New Zealand is in a relatively benign situation as regards press freedom does not mean it will stay that way. Price of liberty = eternal vigilance and all that.

Blogs?? They are in fact very much like journalism at its origins in the pamphleteers of 18th Century London, in all their mix of scurrility, opinion, bias, personal vendetta ….and actually breaking news those in authority would rather not see published.

As far as Mr Slater goes…he’s got many of the instincts, attributes, skills – and faults – of a classic tabloid journalist.

Most blogs are just opinion and rant. Whaleoil is about 80%, no, 90%, opinion and rant, not to mention bile, misanthropy and venom.

But the bugger does break stories, which makes him unusual in the blogosphere.

The question has been raised about where the issue should be applying that Evidence Act protection when someone is acting as a journalist, but not when they are not.

Conceptually this is tidy and it does side-step the whole issue of some sort of regulation and classification of who is and is not a journalist.

In practice though I wonder how tidy it will turn out to be.

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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.