Ethics? You won’t find it in any state broadcaster’s Code of Conduct

Rodney Hide wastes his time as his thoughts will be lost on those he comments on:

The Radio New Zealand documents released under the Official Information Act concerning their collaboration with Television New Zealand and Nicky Hager on the Panama Papers show a shocking absence of any ethical consideration.

Their lack of any ethical concern is all the more amazing given the two organisations always present themselves as morally superior to the rest of us and hyper-sensitive to what’s right and what’s wrong.

They were dealing in stolen documents. It appears they had to pay to partner up with the dreadful ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) which was hawking the 11.5 million documents worldwide. The documents had been hacked from a law firm. Hacked is the modern, polite way of saying stolen. RNZ and TVNZ were receiving stolen goods and, indeed, paying to receive stolen goods.

They also appear to be paying Mr Hager, who is a member of the ICIJ.

Nowhere in the released documents is there a moment’s concern for what they were up to. Imagine if a high-profile law firm involved in serious criminal cases, matrimonial property disputes and the tax affairs of prominent New Zealanders is hacked.

The hacker approaches RNZ and TVNZ to “partner up” to troll through the documents to see what would make a story.

There is a parallel there with Cam Slater’s emails, a hacker, the NZ Herald and TV3.

Would TVNZ and RNZ rush off to sign up hot for a scoop? Or would there be a short pause, “hang on a minute, what’s the ethics of this? The legality of what we are all doing? Where does all this end up?”

I would have thought so. These are the nation’s state broadcasters funded for the “public good.”

In which case, is a law firm in Panama different? What? Because they’re foreigners?

The documents also reveal the wonderful hypocrisy of the self-anointed.

The documents are heavily redacted. The reasons given are variously to protect the privacy of natural persons, preserve trade secrets, preserve commercial position, protect free and frank expression, maintain political neutrality, not risk the supply of further information, not damage the public interest and not prejudice negotiations and commercial activities.

Phew. So many reasons not to show us stuff.

Nicky Hager did the same with Cam Slater’s emails.  He held back all the stuff on Labour, Greens and other left-wing parties as well as anything on journalists.   He then stated in public he would hold that back to give journalists a chance at redemption.

The redemption being to work with Hager, and not with Slater.

But why hold anything back? These are state broadcasters. Don’t they believe in openness and transparency?

Certainly they never gave Mossack Fonseca or their clients the chance to redact. But then there are always rules for them and rules for everyone else.

It was also stunning to see the ICIJ demand that TVNZ and RNZ sign up to ensuring the “confidentiality and sensitivity of data set” and commit to public-key cryptography in their communications. That was to protect their stolen data from being hacked. The irony completely passes them by.

They really are the “luvvies” blissfully unaware of their own biases and shortcomings.

The indignity of Andrea Vance had to be seen to be believed.   They are so severely disconnected from the situation that they actually feel deeply insulted by criticism such as this.

Cognitive dissonance is a wonderful thing, especially in Vance who went every shade of red and purple because some of her private information was wrongfully revealed to a private inquiry.   She would probably combust spontaneously if ten years of her work product ended up being trawled over by Nicky, or Nippert or even Mr Tainted himself.


– Rodney Hide, NBR

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