There is reported to be "growing disquiet" over the deal struck between Harmeet Sooden and TV One News. One commentator over the weekend, Jim Tully, was whining that this sort of "cheque-book journalism" denies other media "access to people in the news," and interferes with "our right to know."
This gentleman is as academic, so you can perhaps forgive him not knowing what he's talking about. However, those signing up to join the complaining chorus now include the other media who have been "denied access," Helen Clark, and -- almost predictably -- National's broadcasting spokesman. Selling the story "raises important issues about truth and honesty" says Georgina te Heuheu in as flaccid a statement as a National spokesman has made for some time.
One thing Clark and Co seem to have overlooked: we have no "right to know." Media organisations have no 'right to access' to people in the news. In fact, the rights go all the other way. The story is not ours, it is Harmeet's and his family's to sell, and they have a right to sell it for whatever they can get, or to keep their mouths shut and their story to themselves if they wish. It's their story, not yours. The fact that they can sell the story shows that lots of people do want to know, but wanting to know gives you no right to know.
You have a right to know? No, you don't.
UPDATE: I should just say that if the amount being paidby TVNZ is $30,000, as is speculated, and the UK government decided to charge Harmeet $30,000 for his rescue, I wouldn't have a problem with that. Would you?
LINKS: News boss defends deal - Newstalk ZB
TVNZ deal annoys others - NZ City
Nats attack TVNZ over Sooden story - Stuff
TAGS: Politics-NZ, Politics-World