Christchurch trial publishing guidelines released

News 01/05/2019

New Zealand media organisations will take a united approach to covering the trial of the man accused of committing the Christchurch terror attacks.

On March 15, 50 people were killed during terror attacks in Christchurch.

Senior editors from Mediaworks, TVNZ, Stuff, NZME and RNZ have agreed to a set of guidelines to be followed while reporting on the trial of the accused shooter.

Hal Crawford, Mediaworks chief news officer, joined Ryan Bridge in conversation and said it was good to see editors of the big New Zealand newsrooms "of one mind on coverage of this crucial trial".

The guidelines specifically state:

a) We shall, to the extent that is compatible with the principles of open justice, limit any coverage of statements that actively champion white supremacist or terrorist ideology

b) For the avoidance of doubt, the commitment set out at a) shall include the accused's manifesto document

c) We will not broadcast or report on any message, imagery, symbols, or signals (including hand signals) made by the accused or his associates promoting or supporting white supremacist ideology

d) Where the inclusion of such signals in any images is unavoidable, the relevant parts of the image shall be pixelated

e) To the greatest extent possible, the journalists that are selected by each of the outlets to cover the trial will be experienced personnel

f) These guidelines may be varied at any time, subject to a variation signed by all parties

g) This Protocol shall continue in force indefinitely.

Beyond the trial Ryan wanted to know if the same standards were applied to gang crime coverage would Crawford support that also?

You can watch the full interview above.