Tuesday, October 5, 2010

[pima.nius] NZ: TVNZ broadcast celebrity suspended over 'ethnicity' jibe

11:45 AM |

Title – 7057 NZ: TVNZ broadcast celebrity suspended over 'ethnicity' jibe
Date – 5 October 2010
Byline – None
Origin – Pacific Media Watch
Source – Television New Zealand, 05/10/10
Copyright – TVNZ
Status – Unabridged
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AUCKLAND (Television New Zealand/Pacific Media Watch): TVNZ Breakfast host Paul Henry's two-week suspension has been welcomed by many, but others say it does not go far enough.

Henry was today suspended for a fortnight without pay by TVNZ chief executive Rick Ellis, after asking the Prime Minister yesterday whether Governor-General Sir Anand Satyanand was "even a New Zealander".

Henry also asked John Key about his next choice of Governor-General: "Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time? Are we going to go for someone who is more like a New Zealander this time?"

Ellis told ONE News today "we cut the Breakfast programme some slack because it's more of a magazine programe in a commercial environment, but Paul's comments on Monday were a clear breach of those editorial policies".

Public response has been mixed on various social networking sites, including the Breakfast Facebook page and ONE News Facebook page.

Janine Oliver-Alderete said on ONE News' Facebook page it was "about time" Paul Henry was suspended.

"Just wait... there will be comments from people defending Henry and bemoaning so called political correctness. What Henry said was racist," said Oliver-Alderete.

"AuckMM" wrote on tvnz.co.nz's Breakfast messageboard: "Good on TVNZ for doing something about this finally. Doesn't anyone remember the "cheeky darky" statement. I am a full-blooded New Zealander of English descent and I am ashamed by the comments Paul made as well as the Prime Minister's reaction. Isn't Paul an English immigrant himself?"

Some thought his apology should have been enough.

Tania Howarth said on the Breakfast messageboard: "I found his comments about our governor general to be inappropriate, but the suspension to be even more so. He apologised 'without reservation' to him and his family live, I'm sure the governor general would accept that, and so should TVNZ."

Henry this morning said on the Breakfast show he was "sincerely sorry" if he seemed disrespectful to Sir Anand.

"That was not what I intended and I certainly didn't intend to sound racist. It was wrong of me to ask the questions that I did," he said.

There are plenty of traditional channel dislikes - TVNZ has also received several hundred formal complaints, the most on a single issue in recent years.

* Comment on this item pmediawa@aut.ac.nz



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