Hard times ahead for hard-copy newspapers

Congratulations to Indian Newslink on your fifteenth year of publishing news for the Indian community and the contribution you have made to informing, entertaining and educating your readership.

Newspapers and most other media are businesses that must operate commercially in a competitive environment. That means they must be relevant to their consumers and responsive to their needs.

For more than a decade and a half, Indian Newslink has shown its ability to survive and thrive in the challenging world of the print media. It has been conscientious in attending and reporting on community events.

Building events

It has also been proactive in itself building events, which have drawn in community involvement. The Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture series has attracted dynamic speakers and audiences.

The Annual Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards Ceremony acknowledges and encourages the thriving Indian entrepreneurial sector and is attended by top businesses and political leaders.

In another important area, this newspaper has been supporting the Mother Teresa Interfaith Meeting hosted at the Christ the King Catholic Church in Mt Roskill.

Assisting the success of Indian Newslink has been the growth of New Zealand’s Indian population. This owes much to the decision of the Labour Government in the 1980s to remove discriminatory barriers against non-European migrants.

Talented migrants

Labour opened up New Zealand to skilled and talented immigrants from India to come to live in and contribute to this country.

Labour also welcomed migrants from Fiji who came to New Zealand to escape consecutive coups and ethnic discrimination and to make better lives for their families here.

The growing Indian community looked for media, which reflected their interests, and background and Indian Newslink responded to that demand.

Fourth Estate

Newspapers and media also have a special function beyond their commercial role and provision of news and entertainment.

That function is as a critical part of our democratic society. Its role is to inform, monitor and report on the political process and to act as a watchdog against abuse of the power by those who govern.

In performing those tasks, the media has been described as ‘The Fourth Estate,’ the fourth branch of government.

A healthy democracy needs citizens to be provided with information so that they can come to informed decisions and make responsible choices. Citizens should be made aware of abuse of office and powers so that they can act against those who misuse their positions to serve private interests rather than the public good.

Upholding standards

We need a media courageous in upholding the standards, which should be met by both the private and public sectors. It should be fearless in holding to account private and commercial vested interests as well as government.

We also need a media, which is committed to finding the truth and one, which presents information in media stories in a balanced and impartial manner.

Newspapers are entitled to use their editorial pages to make comment based on their opinions or bias.

However, we rely on their commitment to accuracy and impartiality in their reporting of news stories. It is important that their readers can come to their own opinions based on fact, not opinions disguised as fact.

Changing scenario

Newspapers operate in a changing world. Once they had a monopoly on dissemination of the news. First, they have had to adjust to competition from electronic media, radio and television. Each form of media has strengths, which they should work to and for print media it is the ability to cover issues in depth and provide considered analysis.

Today they face the challenge of the internet and of social media. Online reporting may one day substantially replace hard-copy newspapers.

For the moment however, a great many of us still enjoy the privilege of reading through our newspapers in hard copy.

I particularly enjoy Indian Newslink for the perspective it gives from the viewpoint of the Indian community.

To Ravin Lal, Venkat Raman and the team, congratulations on your commitment, hard work and high standards. Along with other readers, I benefit from the political discussion and information you provide to our democracy and the insights you give to the needs, interests and concerns of the New Zealand Indian community.

Phil Goff has been a Labour Party Member of Parliament since 1981, elected from the Mt Roskill Constituency, except in 1996 from New Lynn. He has held several ministerial positions in Labour-led Governments and later as Leader of the Opposition. He is the Spokesperson of Labour on a number of portfolios including Ethnic Affairs, Defence and Trade. He was the Master of Ceremonies at the Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture 2014 held on July 28, 2014 at Pullman Hotel Auckland.


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