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In acknowledgement of the recent decision of the Broadcast Standards Authority (BSA)

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Press Release from MUMA and UMA Broadcasting CEO Willie Jackson

In acknowledgement of the recent decision of the Broadcast Standard’s Authority (BSA) in respect of the case of Forbes & Lee and UMA Broadcasting Ltd, we make the following statement.

Firstly we have given serious consideration to the BSA’s ruling and reluctantly we have decided to take no further action on this matter. Our decision is based wholly on the financial implications of taking an appeal to the High Court. We most certainly believe that we were fair, balanced and accurate in our dealings with the claimants, i.e. Mihingarangi Forbes and Annabelle Lee and that our evidence which we presented to the BSA supported that view.

Although the BSA did not agree with us we thank them very much for their time and consideration and we are pleased with the BSA’s ruling that no order was appropriate in this case, given that our transgression was relatively minor. In simple terms that means no fine against us and no apology needed. During our long history in broadcasting, this is the first complaint upheld against UMA by the BSA, which underlines the professionalism of our organisation, its integrity as a broadcaster and its dedication to kaupapa Maori issues.

With the greatest respect we believe there remains a very serious issue regarding the level of Maori expertise on the BSA to better define balance and fairness. It was a pity Te Rau Kupenga, the only Maori member of the BSA removed himself from hearing this case, citing a conflict of interest. He, or indeed someone with the requisite capability should have been appointed to assist the Authority given that there were two Maori groups involved. They would have been able to explain kaupapa or tikanga Maori and how they shape our decisions and our actions which was tremendously important given that both sides debated the issue of tikanga. They may have also been able to remind their colleagues that Radio Waatea along with 20 Iwi Stations is a result of Treaty Settlements and the Crown’s obligation to allow Maori a voice. A voice that is too often ignored by Pakeha mainstream media our challenge to Radio New Zealand regarding their lack of Maori content being the latest example of that. When considering Maori matters, accuracy and fairness are more likely to result from informed korero, discussion and debate particularly within the context of kaupapa Maori. The current non Maori framework within which the BSA operates is less effective for addressing Maori issues.

Broadcasting standards are universal, the BSA needs to apply the same to Maori matters however resolution needs to be informed by tikanga Maori. UMA, Radio Waatea and Iwi Stations operate in a Maori world where even higher standards apply. We broadcast to the letter of the law, just as importantly we stand firmly on the foundation of lore. We understand the lore of korerotia, manaakitanga and whakawhanaungatanga. We have been taught these concepts by some of the greatest broadcasters in Aotearoa. My Uncle Syd Jackson was a tireless human rights advocate who paved the way for younger Maori broadcasters to think more critically about indigenous rights. Haare Williams and Whai Ngata who along with the late Henare Te Ua and Wiremu (Bill) Kerekere planted the seeds for te reo Maori broadcasting which has given rise to Maori Television. Titewhai Harawira, the late Hana Te Hemara and Vapi Kupenga, strong waahine who ensured whanau issues were foremost discussion topics in talkback. UMA and Radio Waatea is their living legacy.

UMA, Radio Waatea and I would like to resolve this issue. We welcome Mihi and Annabelle to come and korero with us. The tono is there, and theirs to accept or not.

Copyright © 2016, UMA Broadcasting Ltd:

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