Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saving Radio New Zealand

Why did more than sixty people brave the rain to gather in Garden Place at lunchtime last Thursday?

They came to oppose the funding cuts to Radio New Zealand, our public service broadcaster.

They poke eloquently and with passion about why they value the national and concert programmes as part of their lives, every day. They reminded us of the importance of informed debate and a trusted news source in a democracy.

As one young woman said, "I want decent radio - it's my lifeline to the world."

The Minister of Broadcasting has told the RNZ Board that there will be no increase in funding in the foreseeable future. He has advised them to cut staff, look at sponsorship of programmes and consider shutting down from midnight to 6am.

This "death by inches" approach will erode the quality of the service, especially newsgathering.

The Hamilton protest, the latest in a series nation-wide, along with the 19,000 people joined to the Save Radio New Zealand Facebook page, indicates substantial oopposition to the cuts right across the political spectrum.

The government may not appreciate Radio New Zealand. I do.