Member log in

Farrar makes changes to Kiwiblog, applies to be 'test dummy' for new regulator

Centre-right commentator David Farrar says he's thought about walking away from Kiwiblog over the past week.

He does not believe Dirty Politics shows him acting in any way inappropriately. But nevertheless it's been traumatic to have his emails floating around, and for he and his office to be regarded as "fair game."

He's decided to stick with it.

But he is cleaning house, introducing new rules around disclosing sources of information, and applying to join a new(ish) media regulator and abide by its code of conduct.

"I’ve been talking to the OMSA and Press Council for over a year about joining, so the book is not the cause, but is a bit of a catalyst. I’ve long wanted to see if the self-regulatory model can be extended to blogs," Mr Farrar told NBR Online this morning.

"The other changes at Kiwiblog are more just about greater clarity."

The OMSA (Online Media Standards Authority) as set up as a self-regulatory authority set up by TVNZ, MediaWorks, Sky TV, Maori TV and Radio NZ after Justice Minister Judith Collins rejected a Law Commission recommendation for a single regulator to cover online and offline media (online media being unregulated at the time. Broadcast media is covered by the Broadcast Standards Authority and print media by the Press Council). It setup shop in June last year.

As with the BSA and Press Council, it's not a legal process, but complainants can win retractions and apologies.

For a blogger, that could be a humbling experience, but it's also a cheaper and more straightforward one than a complainant taking them to court.

The trade-off for enjoying the OMSA's protection is that members have to abide by its Code of Standards, which include respecting privacy (so no blabbing whistleblower's names slipped to you by a cabinet minister), not causing undue distress, putting stories in context, and showing balance on controversial issues (not  something various blogs on the left or the right are particularly known for; Mr Farrar at least has always been upfront about where he stands).

"I regard myself as a bit of a test dummy, to see how it goes. I expect other bloggers might follow but they may want to wait and see how it goes with me," the Kiwiblog founder says.

Would he cousel Cameron Slater to follow his lead?  

Mr Farrar says his changes are not intended as a blueprint for anyone else, "as I think each blog has its own style and the good thing about the blogosphere is the diversity it has on offer."

More by this author

Comments and questions

:Showing balance on controversial issues"? that's what MSM do these days?

Nice try Mr Farrar to try and cleanse your past sins

You are as guilty as Cameron Slater in participating in this nonsense.

At least Farrar is interesting and writes well. Unlike yourself Doctor - we're all sick to death of your mind-numbing repetitive rubbish. Go and get yourself a job would you so you can constructively contribute to society. That way you can get off the benefit too.

Couldn't agree more. Asked Doc recently why he bothers getting NBR when all he does is push his left wing agenda and rubbish successful business enterprise (in which I include the current govt).
Got about 800 page reply. TL;DR.
As for Whaleoil Doc, how about the bile that spews out of the left wing blogosphere?
Why are only National election signs being vandalised, removed?
What about the latent anti-semitism on "your team"?
So you and your ilk are "above" Slater's morality are you?

It's not (doctor) Russel Norman is it? Similar politics of envy? And in a way, on a (taxpayer) benefit? Certainly would be funny.

Wow you are a sensitive sausage

I am not left wing - I am centre - just sick of Nationals arrogance like many others.

By the way Slater has no ' morality ' - he has just proven that and is losing most of his support - not before time.

The evidence of the left having injected itself into every crevice in secondary and tertiary education is now open for all to see in so many paper publications and in radio live for example, disgracefully in taxpayer funded National Radio, and TV.
When I see the plethora of lefty "commentators" and sympathetic to the left guest writers in the Herald ( Lucy Lawless for instance) and the nameless editor opinion pieces, I have to wonder whether there is any merit in buying it anymore.