Friday, April 18, 2008


A couple of months ago, the Herald came out with guns blazing against the Electoral Finance Act, with front-page headlines declaring that democracy was under attack, and that it was time to "speak now, or next year hold your peace". According to the Herald, anybody who wanted to say anything even remotely political would have to register as a third party if the law passed. This grossly misrepresented the law, and they've rightly been pulled up on it by the Press Council:

The Herald was entitled to run the campaign which it did against the Electoral Finance Bill. This is accepted by the Coalition. However, comment or advocacy as this was must be based on fact. In this case, as the Herald has acknowledged, it mis-stated the fact. The need to register for third persons only applied to those who wished to spend more than $12,000 on advertising.
The Herald should have promptly corrected this "mis-statement" (this weeks euphemism for "lie") statement, but at the time was more interested in scaremongering and misleading the public than abiding by proper standards of accuracy.

As The Standard points out, our democracy relies on fair and accurate coverage from our media, and on this occasion, the Herald has let us down badly. But I guess that's what happens when you let your content be driven by your business interest in maintaining ad revenue and your manager's private political interests.