Australian Media versus New Zealand Media

A number of Whaleoil commenters voiced what I was thinking during the hostage crisis in Australia.

Would our Media work with the Police and put the interests of the hostages ahead of their interest in a scoop?

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Given Campbell Live’s past history I think we can safely assume that they would not follow the Australian media’s example.

John Campbell will be warned by police after admitting he broke an official cordon and snuck past armed offenders squad officers during the Napier siege to get exclusive news footage.

The host of TV3’s Campbell Live was among around 40 journalists reporting on last month’s 50-hour siege following the fatal shooting of Senior Constable Len Snee and wounding of fellow officers Grant Diver and Bruce Miller plus hero civilian Leonard Holmwood.

The four men were shot by gun fanatic Jan Molenaar after the policemen went to search for cannabis at his home.

The Hawke’s Bay city was placed under lockdown with hundreds of residents forced from their homes and countless others told they were unable to return home even to feed hungry pets during the standoff.

But Campbell ignored the police cordon to get close to the gunman’s home in a bid to capture footage.

Last weekend, he told Radio New Zealand National’s Media Watch how he and a cameraman climbed Hospital Hill.

“We walked up a kind of goat track, through some houses, through some back yards, across some sections and around a corner and low and behold we were standing on a road looking directly down on where this was taking place,” Campbell said in the interview.

A resident invited the current affairs show frontman and the cameraman inside her house, from where the TV3 staffers captured footage of teargas being fired into Molenaar’s house.

Campbell defended his breaching of the cordon. “I think that’s our job as reporters to do that we alone had got the pictures and we had worked hard to get them, been sensible to get them but we had got them.” TV3 said Campbell’s actions would not usually be encouraged but the Napier case was unique.

“All journalists want to get close to the story, and provided safety is paramount, that determination to get to the heart of the story is understandable,” said head of news and current affairs, Mark Jennings.

But Napier police spokeswoman Kris McGehan told Sunday News Campbell’s admission he broke the cordon came across as though he was “skiting”.

McGehan said police enforced the cordon during the siege as they would at any crime scene, although in this case monitoring was “probably more stringent”.

If people had crossed the cordon, there is a chance they may have been shot,” she said.

-stuff ( 2009 )

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