Māori media worried about Government's single service proposal

Following public backlash over a proposal to create a single Māori news service, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has committed not to erode Māori news providers.

Off the back of the Black Lives Matter protests the world is talking about racism more than ever and in New Zealand, Māori media is crucial in that discussion. 

Every Sunday at 9:30am Three's The Hui relentlessly takes the sticky questions to those in power. 

But there are concerns the new Māori media proposal threatens to decimate productions outside Māori TV, including The Hui, Marae, iwi radio and Te Karere. 

"It sends a message that while plurality of voice is valued when it comes to mainstream journalism it's not the same for Māori," says Annabelle Lee-Mather, The Hui's executive director.

"Māori are being ghettoised to just one voice, and that's simply unfair."

The plan proposes a single news service at Māori TV where all Māori media would have access to its content and iwi media could contribute.

Auckland based Radio Waatea's news arm is concerned for its future. 

"A sort of big brother entity deciding what news and what's views and what's not. That's a huge amount of power to wield," says general manager Bernie O'Donnell.

After backlash, the Prime Minister has committed to not allowing Māori news to diminish.

"Unfortunately that's been misinterpreted. That's not our intention to lose that range of voice and programming options to create a clearinghouse for some of these different operations," Ardern says.

But despite her commitment, it's unclear if the Government is aiming for Māori TV to be New Zealand's main Māori news provider which could risk other media services.

Feedback on the proposal can be submitted for only two more weeks. 

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