News : Article

Commission encourages better reporting on race

Graphic: Newspapers

New Zealand’s mainstream media need to make sure to include the voices of the people they report on, the Human Rights Commission has said.


New Zealand's mainstream media need to make sure they include the voices of the people they report on, the Human Rights Commission has said.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy recently launched the Commission's Talking About Ourselves report, which draws on a scan of 2014 mainstream news items relating to race relations carried out by the Mediamine company.

"The media play an influential role in how we understand or misunderstand each other and it's a role that's grown with the Internet, as well as our rapidly changing demographics," Dame Susan said.

"We dehumanise people when we write stories about them but fail to give them a voice," she said.

"Is it fair to write a news article about Maori and Asian New Zealanders without interviewing them and including their voices in your story?"

Dame Susan said the overwhelming majority of news items were acceptable but that media reporting could be better.

"We found fewer positive stories about Maori issues and, conversely, more negative stories written about Maori issues. It shows how inured many of us have become to mainstream portrayals of Maori New Zealanders and their human rights," she said.

"We encourage fairness, balance and excellence in reporting on all communities."

To find out more, read the Commission's Talking About Ourselves report.

Date: 14 April 2015

Source: New Zealand Human Rights Commission


Image credits

  1. Newspapers - Thomas Hawk, Flickr Creative Commons