Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Student's Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 8. April 30 1968
War protests 'unsuccessful'
War protests 'unsuccessful'
"Organised protests about the Vietnam war have been relatively unsuccessful in changing public opinion," said Mr. Alister Taylor, former NZBC current affairs producer and chairman of the Peace, Power and Politics Conference held last month.
Mr. Taylor said protest demonstrations were becoming a public testimony for those involved.
"This is very bad for the movement. It is not expanding but regressing.
"The public must be reached by other means," he said.
"It was thought that when the Committee on Vietnam was formed, it might penetrate the wall erected about independent pressure groups.
"It has not done so," he said. "Initially it had good relations with the press," Mr. Taylor said, "but the statements were modified to become acceptable to the press."
Mr. Taylor said the only statements made were pragmatic and occasionally opportunistic.
"The Ppp Conference was the way to demonstrate." he said. "Dissenters have to become sophisticated.
"The Cov was 'irresponsible' in that it hasn't gathered information, expertise and has had 'internal failures.
"In the past the leadership was involved with egoism, which was possible unconscious," Mr. Taylor said.
He said the protest movement has no charismatic leaders as in the USA.
"There is little continuity of leadership," he said.
"This is due to a lack of total commitment and willingness to co-operate completely within the organisation."
Mr. Taylor said a student demonstration at Victoria in 1965 had shown the potentialities of student power.
Masters' bursaries, amongst others, were increased by 66% after the incident.
"The action of the Government was not a direct result of the demonstration, which was supported by a welldocumented case.
"Other pressure on the government including public support proved successful."
Referring to broadcasting, Mr. Taylor said that three years ago there were three current affairs programmes.
"Now there are none," he said, "but two will begin later this year."
Mr. Taylor said. "There are many areas of personal and political censorship in the N.Z.B.C.
"On many occasions this had led to the exclusion of prominent authorities, and no programmes on matters of great importance.
"The N.Z.B.C. is 'completely irresponsible' in allowing six months to pass without a current affairs programme on television."
Mr. Taylor referred to the Labour MP who had remarked that when his party came to power it would use the news media "just like the National Party."
"This is no good for the people of New Zealand," he said.
Mr. Taylor gave several examples of attempts at political censorship which, he said, "is the most obnoxious form."
They included a Minister of the Crown denying a true statement which had been recorded by the N.Z.B.C and attempting to pressure a senior staff member. Luckily, the N.Z.B.C. withstood the pressure.
The refusal of Government spokesmen to appear on TV, thereby denying the N.Z.B.C. the representative balance it declared was essential, was "frequent", said Mr. Taylor.
Other bodies such as "R.S.A. and Tourist Association" were also responsible.
Mr. Taylor gave examples of distinguished academics and others, who were denied access to television and radio because of their views.
Two speakers at the Peace Power and Politics Conference recorded TV interviews while in New Zealand.
At least two were not shown because there was no balancing opinion and because "questionable statements" had been made.
• Continued on page 2.page 2
•Continued from page 1.
At least one very prominent professor had been so mistreated by the N.Z.B.C. he now refused to co-operate at all.
"This is a minor tragedy for the people of New Zealand," Mr. Taylor said.
"Press censorship may be due in part to inadequate people," said Mr. Taylor.
"I could possibly count the number of competent journalists on both hands.
"There is insufficient continuity in the work the journalists do," he said.
"They don't stay with the same subject long enough.
"Editorial censorship mirrors ownership," Mr. Taylor said.
"The sub-editors protect the management, who in turn protect the Ministers."
Mr. Taylor said: "There is no need for a secret service.
"There is a Joint Intelligence Service (under Prime Ministerial control) and security forces in the Defence Department, the three armed forces and the police.
"Security Service costs were formerly included under 'Prison Officers' Overtime'," he said.
"The $200,000 mentioned was not for wages; it was 'pin' money."
The C.I.A.'s financial support of the U.S. National Students' Association and the International Students' Conference was deplored by Mr. Taylor.
"I am extremely disappointed that N.Z.U.S.A. has not withdrawn from the organisation.
"They are tying New Zealand to an outmoded cold war, pro-American policy."