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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  • conwaycaptain

    Article in the UK Daily Telegraph stating that what Boko Haram is doing in W Africa is slave trading.
    They raid the villages and kill all the men and take the women and children and sell them as slaves.
    The Nigerian Govt couldn’t give a [email protected]#$
    This is also happening in the area of ISIS.
    Now the Brits got rid of the slave trade by basically blockading the W African ports and boarding slavers on route. The only way to stop BH and ISIS is “boots on the ground”

    • symgardiner

      No. Not boots on the ground. That has been a huge failure.
      A huge first step is to drop Saudi Arabia out of the world trade market. Treat it like Iran until they reform. Women rights, freedom of speech, full participation elections. Break the back of Saudi Arabia and the whole house of dollars will come tumbling down.
      The second step is to re-introduce ethics back into compulsory schooling. It does open up our kids to left wing teachers but probably better them than the alternative. Teach right and wrong, freedom of speech and debate. Probably a bit of history too.

      • stephen2d

        You are absolutely right as to what the beginning of a solution would be, but alas – fat chance of that happening, as long as we all (and especially USA) depends on the (cheap) Saudi oil.

        • symgardiner

          This is the interesting thing. The USA is very close to being able to be a nett exporter of oil. Shale gas and the like have changed the US energy mix significantly. This is why OPEC are desperate to kill off the shale gas guys by driving the prices down.
          If the US messed up Saudi Arabia at the moment the price of oil would bolt up like it did when they messed up Iraq. In other words back to $2.15 per litre petrol.

          • stephen2d

            Very true. For shale gas to be profitable, it requires higher prices, until at least technology gets better. High prices wouldn’t suit the Americans as the opposite is allowing them to starve off Russia and Putin. If the situation in Russia changes and Putin loses the power (economy completely goes to the toilet), then Saudis would probably be next. Until then…

  • who’stoblame

    Interesting isn’t it, particularly when they show images and descriptions of ISIS and their children about to shoot and behead innocent people in the name of a so called peaceful religion. Cowards to the core.

  • Whafe

    Am not in anyway surprised, the NZ Herald were in the toilet in my opinion, they have just sunk even lower…..

    There will be mass subscription cancellations, that’s if there are many with subscriptions left.

    Appalling all round NZ Herald, hang your heads in shame

    • dgrogan

      You could say they’re passed the s-bend, W. No coming back from there.

  • Jafarma

    The cancellation of works Herald subscription couldn’t have occurred at a better time. Last paper to be received is tomorrow.

  • I Think Rowan Atkinson summed things up perfectly

  • ogm

    NZ Herald has been dropped off my reading list. Easy decision given their reporting is shallow and the editorial picks seem more interested in Beyoncé or SBW than hard news which might interest those of us with a comprehension level higher than that of a 5 year old.

  • Aucky

    Or is it commercial pressure exerted by a major advertiser/s with strong Middle East connections? Unlikely I know but I’m struggling for an answer as to why our largest print publication would willingly take such a cowardly stance.

  • corporate refugee

    What is it with the Herald? They won’t publish images of the cover of this magazine (they claim in respect for Muslims) but they will publish an article and images about who John Key’s son played a round of golf with?
    Which story is more newsworthy? Where is the respect for John Key’s son and the other people in the photo accompanying their article?
    The Herald has become a rag – biased, tacky and hypocritical.

    • Luis Cannon

      Editorial eunuchs at the Herald Emasculate……go join the Women’s Weekly.