The Media Freedom Committee is an alliance of Aotearoa mainstream media organisations representing national broadcasters and news sites.

Members are senior newsroom leaders committed to protecting the long-standing and cherished rights of journalists to cover matters of public interest and hold the powerful to account.

Activities are typically focused on public agencies and bodies including national and local government, ministries and courts.

Areas of particular interest include redressing reduced access to public officials and information amid an explosion of “gatekeepers” in the form of publicly funded communications staff.

The Committee meets quarterly, holding additional sessions about specific concerns as they arise. In 2021 these have included meetings with the Solicitor-General and Chief Ombudsman.

It acts on matters raised by members and other working journalists. Other work this year has included opposing Department of Conservation plans to restrict journalist access to public land and providing industry feedback on guidelines for reporting on suicide and terrorism.

The current chair is Richard Sutherland, who is also Head of News at RNZ.

Other media organisations with representatives on the Committee are: Newshub, Newsroom, NZME, Stuff, The Health Media, The Spinoff and TVNZ.

The Committee is actively seeking additional members to boost diversity and extend its reach.

Journalists are welcome to raise matters of concern directly by emailing the Committee coordinator at General inquiries can be sent to the same address.

News and views related to the Media Freedom Committee and its work

The NOIAs: New media awards highlight battle for information

The watchdog for journalists' rights has announced a new initiative to highlight ongoing problems reporters have getting information from public agencies.

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Gear smashed and violent threats: attacks on Kiwi journalists must stop

Stuff’s Head of News Mark Stevens on the disturbing rise of abuse against working media.

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The mounting hostility to media

RNZ investigates how Covid-19 has fuelled an increase in physical attacks on frontline reporters.

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Media Guidelines for Reporting on Suicide

The Committee was among news organisations that worked with the Suicide Prevention Office on updated guidelines for reporting on suicide.

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Media frustrated with ‘impossible’ court document hold-ups

Committee member Richard Sutherland comments on media frustrations with ‘impossible’ delays in getting court documents.

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There is a group guarding NZ’s media freedom

Committee chair Miriyana Alexander discusses the “insidious creep" around the control and flow of public information in New Zealand on Radio New Zealand’s Detail podcast.

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Terrorist and National Security Event Media Protocols

The Committee provided feedback on Terrorist and National Security Event Media Protocols before agreeing to the final iteration.

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What sparked DoC’s ‘flawed’ media permits

Why the Committee joined the backlash against the Department of Conservation’s “flawed” media permits proposal.

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