First Day Of Save Radio NZ Protests Sends Clear Message To Minister Of Broadcasting
A series of ’sit-in/tune-in’ protests seeking to raise awareness of the funding freeze facing Radio New Zealand took place in Wellington and Christchurch today after only two days planning, while another is planned for Auckland on Monday 1 March.
Around 300 fans of Radio New Zealand came to show their support for the state broadcaster at Parliament and a smaller group formed outside the Christchurch offices of Radio New Zealand. The protest action, entirely organised on the social media page Facebook through the group ‘Save Radio New Zealand’ was a massive success according to group founder, Jake Quinn.
“With the lack of notice we hoped 100 people would come to Parliament, but to have so many come out on a week day with essentially one day’s notice, we are very pleased,” said Quinn. “It sends a strong message to the Minister of Broadcasting that’s he’s incredibly out of touch with people on the street. Many of these were young people tune in to RNZ stations on the FM frequency. It also shows how upset people are feeling about potential reduction in quality due to any changes at Radio New Zealand.”
A number of MPs from a range of parties addressed the 300 strong group, who brandished portable radios tuned into Radio NZ National. The crowd sent text messages to the Radio New Zealand National show Afternoons with Jim Mora to share their appreciation and support for his station and dedicated staff. Anyone can do this by texting 2101 and including your name.
The Save Radio NZ group was set up last week after the Minister of Broadcasting Jonathan Coleman told Radio New Zealand’s Board it had to deliver cost saving measures such as introducing sponsorship or reducing its Auckland operation.
There have been over five thousand interactions on the Facebook site in just over a week (posts, comments etc). From the USA and Britain, to Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the comments, links, photos and positive support is flowing in regularly.
Facebook users are encouraged to head online and read through the comments and posts to see for themselves the support from around the world.
Quinn points out that, as well as online users, there has been a huge amount of feedback from members of the community who aren’t online, wondering how they can participate and support their beloved broadcaster. “We’re hearing from parents and those who work from home, people in rural communities, minority groups, the elderly, and the message is the same – hands off Radio New Zealand!”