Media Freedom Committee: Wrong to link “teapot tape” to UK wire tapping
Linking the “teapot tape” to News of the World tactics has been rejected by the committee of editors representing the
country’s mainstream media.
A recording of a conversation between Prime Minister John Key and Act candidate John Banks is held by the Herald on
Sunday and TV3 but neither has published it.
The Media Freedom Committee at its annual general meeting in Wellington today said it was wrong to suggest the recording
and assessment of its contents could in any way be compared to the systematic illegal phone tapping that occurred in the
The political meeting was held in a public place to which media had been invited and was at the height of an election
campaign. The cameraman left the recorder on the table after initial public comments from the politicians.
The media have committed no offence, despite a police investigation, and have not published or broadcast the recording’s
The Crimes Act, which has no defence of acting in the public interest, forbids publication where the parties concerned
do not agree.
The level of public focus on what was said at that meeting and what implications it might have beyond the election has
intensified in the past two days. With just 9 days until the election, the matter could yet be resolved by one or both
of the politicians involved agreeing to put the tape’s contents before the public and to let voters be the judge of its
To suggest this case could lead to much wider publication of private conversations, even raising the subject of suicide,
was unfortunate and totally wrong.