Fox News 'banned' in NZ, new rumour erroneously claims

Fox News
Fox News - banned? Photo credit: Getty

Americans on social media are applauding New Zealand for banning US channel Fox News.

Thing is, New Zealand hasn't banned Fox News.

Mythbusting website Snopes said the rumour "materialised on Facebook and Twitter out of thin air" in late January.

Users have been "enthusiastically parroting the claim despite a complete lack of media coverage on the topic", Snopes fact checker David Emery wrote, noting none of the claims posted on Twitter and Facebook cited any reputable sources.

As Snopes found out, Fox News is very much still available in New Zealand and Australia. Here, it's on Sky channel 088. Over the ditch, it's on Foxtel channel 604.

"We were also unable to confirm the underlying assertion that Fox News has been deemed 'propaganda' by officials of either country, nor did we find precedents for the banning of specific news organizations on that ground," wrote Mr Emery.

Fox News is notorious for its right-wing, pro-Christian view. It's a favourite of US President Donald Trump, who sometimes live-tweets his reactions to morning show Fox & Friends.

Last year Fox News dropped its infamous 'fair and balanced' slogan.

Fox News on a TV in the Newshub newsroom.
Fox News on a TV in the Newshub newsroom. Either it's not banned, or we're in big trouble. Photo credit: Newshub.

In November, the UK media regulator Ofcom said two of the channel's shows - Tucker Carlson Tonight and Hannity Tonight - broke the country's impartiality rules.

Fox News was off air by the time the ruling was made, but not because it was banned - few people were watching it, so parent company 21st Century Fox pulled the plug.

"'Such-and-such a country banned Fox News' has become a familiar social media trope in recent years," wrote Mr Emery.