Deregulation, Privatization And Transformation Of Media In New Zealand

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Due to different media forms, New Zealand has experienced numerous transformations over time. There is a range of different media forms such as television and print media, however radio is an important one to be discussed, along with the negative impacts it has brought through the transformations. The transformations include deregulation, privatization and commercialization. It is important to consider how these transformations have then in turn negatively affected the media’s ability to function as a public sphere.

The public sphere is a space where individuals can come together and freely voice their opinions about any kind of societal issue (Hope, 2012). Through this, the public can potentially influence political actions (Scannell, 2007).
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Deregulation can be broadly defined as reducing or eliminating the government’s power of a certain industry (Cocker, 1992). Prior to deregulation occurring, the government were able to have complete control over what was discussed on radio, and was solely based around politics. “Government policy severely curtailed the use of the medium as part of a democratic public sphere in New Zealand society” (Cocker, 2008, p. 40). This then ruined the possibility of running a functional public sphere because people were not free to express their opinions on political matters (Cocker, 1996). Since New Zealand citizens felt they weren’t being heard, the labour grab in 1935 is highly relevant in influencing deregulation. The prime minister in 1935, Michael Joseph Savage, appeared on radio broadcasts on Sundays to speak about politics. This way he was able to speak directly to New Zealand citizens as a radio was the hub of the family home. However, regulations that began in 1923 meant no one was able to have a voice about his political views. Broadcasters could not legally air an opposing opinion because it might cause "controversy" (Cocker, 2008). This would have caused uproar from the listeners at the time and fuelled Hauraki Radio to have a motive to be a private station. They decided that they no longer wanted to be trapped by only listening to certain political viewpoints and went into the Hauraki Golf to broadcast a private radio station despite it being against the law (Cocker, 1992). Hauraki Radio helped lead more people wanting to have a more successful public sphere and voice their opinions; hence a law has been passed to allow separate radio stations (Cocker, 1992). As part of the public sphere the government did in the end have to listen to the people of New Zealand, as it is a democratic society. Laws were passed in 1989 by the government

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