Earlier this evening, the abortion lobby group Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) posted the following message on their Facebook page:
“And now, a request from a friendly journalist:
Have you sought pregnancy counselling from a community organisation or medical centre, only to find they are pushing a pro-life agenda? Have you ever been shown tiny fetus toys, offered baby clothes or given inaccurate information on the risks of abortion? If so, I would love to speak with you for an investigation into New Zealand’s crisis pregnancy centres. You can remain anonymous, and Terry can vouch for me as being a reliable and trustworthy journalist. Please get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can get my mobile number off Terry. Thanks in advance!”
That’s right, it seems that ALRANZ is conspiring with an activist journalist from Radio New Zealand to launch an attack on care organisations that they perceive to be their enemies.
We would be keen to know more about the relationship between Terry Bellamak, the head of ALRANZ, and Susan Strongman from Radio New Zealand.
Is Strongman a member of ALRANZ?
How long have she and Bellamak known each other?
Clearly they have a very close relationship if Strongman is publicly declaring that Bellamak will vouch for her personal reliability and trustworthiness.
Leaving aside the fact that we are talking about crisis pregnancy centres that run on shoestring budgets in order to offer Kiwi women true choice and caring alternatives to abortion, there is the bigger question here of journalistic ethics.
Is it really appropriate for a journalist to be working hand in hand with an activist group to try and smear other organisations that ALRANZ view as enemies?
Does Radio New Zealand endorse this type of conduct, which has all the hallmarks of unethical partisan activism, on the part of their journalistic staff?
If so, how far up the organisation’s chain of command does this endorsement go?
Are the Labour Government supportive of their taxpayer funded broadcaster engaging in attack pieces like this?
It seems troublingly convenient that this is happening at the very same time that the Labour Government is trying to introduce a more extreme abortion law in this country.
Sadly, we are hardly surprised by this, as there has been a troubling lack of journalistic ethics in recent months regarding the coverage of abortion in this country.
Some journalists are clearly campaigning for the loosening of New Zealand’s abortion laws, and are showing almost no regard for balance or accuracy – the very things that are supposed to be the fundamental staples of ethical journalism.
In some cases the ideological corruption of journalistic ethics has been truly shameful.
So, just remember, if this latest ideological hit piece ever does get broadcast or published, it will be a one-sided piece of propaganda that was cooked up by a militant abortion organisation and an activist journalist from Radio New Zealand.
As such, the story will not be reliable or trustworthy.
Anonymous interview subjects combined with the ardour of an activist journalist is a recipe for disaster when it comes to truthful reporting.
There’s no way to verify that the stories Bellamak and Strongman conspire to present to the NZ public will even be real, or free from dishonest embellishments designed to inflict maximum damage on those they disdain.
Sadly, this is a new low for the New Zealand media and their coverage of the abortion issue.