Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

Television and environmental sustainability: Arguing a case for a code of standards in NZ

Volume 12, Issue 2

September, 2006

From page
137
to page
147
Spellerberg, S.I., Buchan, D.G., Early, N. (2006). Television and environmental sustainability: Arguing a case for a code of standards in NZ. Pacific Journalism Review, 12(2): 137-147.
Author(s): Graeme D. Buchan, Nick Early, Ian S. Spellerberg
Publication date: 
September, 2006

This article explores the portrayal of the environment and environmental sustainability by free-to-air network television in New Zealand. The results are based on a three-month survey of a) the portrayal of the use and treatment of the environment, and b) the reporting of environmental news. While television includes environmentally-oriented programmes (eg. some BBC Horizon documentaries), there are no regular programmes about the state of the environment, sustainable use of resources and energy, and there is no regular environmental slot in the news in New Zealand. Some programmes and advertisements are environmentally unfriendly and a few trivialise resource abuse. It is argued that the media has an ‘orchestrational’ influence on social norms and behaviours, and that to eliminate counter-messages requires the addition of a new ‘environmental standard’ to the Code of Broadcasting Practice. It is also argued that coverage of environmental news is quite narrow and, in the case of Television New Zealand, inconsistent with the stated aims of the Television Charter. New Zealand  television could and should make a valuable contribution to environmental sustainability.