4 Jul 2012

'Bad news' focus on Maori by English-language TV

7:44 am on 4 July 2012

Research about television news coverage of tangata whenua, has found that English-language news programmes rarely cover Maori topics, unless they're about violence and crime.

The study was published by Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga, the Centre of Research Excellence at the University of Auckland.

Researchers compared news stories about Maori, from bulletins broadcast by Maori TV, TVNZ's Te Karere programme and its mainstream counterpart, as well as TV3 and Prime.

The information was collected over six months in 2007 and 2008.

One of the researchers, Dr Raymond Nairn, says Maori language programmes covered a variety of news about Maori and included both positive and negative stories.

But he says English language programmes covered stories particularly about Maori men who abused or were allegedly abused children, and stories centred on violence.

Dr Nairn says mainstream organisations did occasionally do some positive stories, but not sufficient to balance out negative coverage.

The research found that that tangata whenua are still portrayed as lower-class citizens.

Dr Nairn says society in New Zealand is still very much colonial in nature, and tries to ensure Maori stay in their place.

He hopes mainstream news organisations will take note of the research and changes the way they report Maori issues.