I wrote an analysis recently of the media coverage of broadcaster Tony Veitch, arguing that the Dominion Post had reported on his alleged violence in a way which differed from other media outlets. Specifically, because the DomPo articles refused to minimise the alleged violence, or blame his ex-partner, Kristen Dunne-Powell, for the alleged assault.
Today the Sunday Star Times produces an article with just these staples – victim-blaming and minimising – to the fore, reporting a former flatmate of Tony Veitch’s comments on Ms Dunne-Powell. It’s all reported speech, the opinions of someone identified as being Tony Veitch’s friend, so the reading public will know it is not neutral or objective, right?
Or is there some kind of idea that ‘balance’ here requires more positive views about Mr Veitch to be aired alongside the allegations of violence? Intriguing.
Anyway, interesting to see the Commonwealth Press Union, an association of editors, journalists and publishers from 49 countries in the British Commonwealth (are we still in that? All editors of NZ dailies and Sunday papers are members, so I guess so…) has also produced some guidance on reporting gender violence. They have an online toolkit here which addresses many of the same issues I tried to look at in my article and state:
Everyday in the newspapers there are reports about gender violence, and usually the victim is a woman. The following list of questions should help you to avoid falling into stereotypical traps which just reinforce negative attitudes about women.
Those questions might just need to be required reading methinks.