|Pacific Media Watch|
TV3 condemned over interview that deceived viewers
Title -- 5318 NZ: TV3 condemned over interview that deceived viewers
Date -- 23 February 2008
Byline -- None
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
Source -- New Zealand Herald Online 23/02/08
Copyright - NZH
Status -- Unabridged
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THE REAL THING ... EXCEPT FOR THE VOICE AND THE MAN
By Craig Borley
AUCKLAND (NZH/Pacific Media Watch): New Zealand's TV3 has been attacked for not telling its audience an interview purporting to be with a man claiming he took part in the Waiouru medal theft was a re-enactment.
Canterbury University media commentator Jim Tully says the move deceived viewers and tarnished a good news scoop.
An interview with a man calling himself Robert was shown on TV3's Campbell Live programme on Thursday night. Viewers saw John Campbell interviewing a man wearing a hood with his face in shadow.
TV3's head of news and current affairs, Mark Jennings, said last night that a message was shown on-screen "two or three times" telling viewers the interview subject was an actor.
But tapes of the programme show only a message stating the voice was that of an actor. At no point were viewers told the man on screen was an actor.
Three detectives with a search warrant yesterday met Jennings, Campbell Live producer Carol Hirschfeld and Campbell.
After the 15-minute meeting, Campbell spent another 15 minutes making a statement to the detectives.
The officers left with a videotape of the staged interview.
Jennings said no cameras had been at the original interview.
It was recorded on a dictaphone tape, which was transcribed and destroyed.
He said there was "no intention to stage or try to mislead anyone".
"We were just trying to protect our source."
Jennings also said TV3 had initially feared the alleged thief may not have been who he claimed to be.
But it had used "a way of checking that made us 99 per cent certain" he was, Jennings said.
He would not divulge what that check entailed.
PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. It is now published by the Pacific Media Centre at New Zealand's AUT University. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Programme at the University of the South Pacific, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG) and the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. The website is hosted by the Association of Progressive Communications (APC).
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