A good summary of the cowardice of the NZ Herald

Yesterday the front cover image for today’s Charlie Hebdo issue was released to the world wide media.

Fairfax, via Stuff published it, so did TVNZ and 3News and other outlets.

The one publication that shirked its responsibilities was the NZ Herald. They have pointedly refused to publish any Charlie Hebdo cartoons, despite reporting on the issue.

One of the best short summaries of the situation at the NZ Herald was posted to Facebook:

The New Zealand Herald appears to have decided not to publish the latest cover page of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo.

This is of course a matter for the Herald and its editorial team. However, as a (reluctant – given that publication’s other shortcomings) reader, I find the decision worrying for the following reasons:

1) the cover is clearly newsworthy in light of recent events;

2) there seem to be only 2 plausible reasons for not publishing it – a) genuine concern that it may cause offence; and/or b) safety concerns (in case some lunatic goes postal);  

3) neither of the points at 2 is convincing to me.

Re a) if the Herald thinks the cover (and its depiction of Muhammad mourning the dead and opposing the attacks on Charlie Hebdo) is offensive then their barometer of what is offensive is so far removed from mine that I have to question what else they’re not publishing that I would expect read about in a newspaper.

Re b) so far as I am aware the government hasn’t raised the terror threat level in NZ and other NZ organisations, notably stuff.co.nz have decided to publish the cover (http://www.stuff.co.nz/…/charlie-hebdos-next-issue-to-featu…). While neither fact is decisive, and while the Herald may have come to a different risk assessment, these things suggest to me that safety concerns probably weren’t the decisive factor in the Herald’s decision not to publish the cover page.

Pretty concise, but I bet the the NZ Herald editors lack the courage to tell us why they won;t publish the front cover of Charlie Hebdo…but then again they have already shown us the colour of their resolve…and it is yellow.


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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.