Print medium faces formidable challenges

Like an adolescent, New Zealand is reaching forward somewhat clumsily to adulthood.

Some still think racial jokes and slurs still have a place in modern New Zealand.

Others are those working for a more mature multicultural future.

Crucial to our growth as a nation is proper dialogue enabled by quality media.

Indian Newslink has a proud record in that regard.

This journal and its editorial team have never been the captive plaything of any party or set of interests.

Brickbats and bouquets have been handed out to all sides of politics.

It has often pursued an independent line that has caused both major parties reflect and respond.

Indian Newslink was born as a ‘monthly’ the year I entered Parliament in 1999, and became fortnightly in 2003, around the time I joined the executive in the Labour-led Government of Helen Clark.

I was a regular columnist as Immigration Minister in 2005-2007, an occasional contributor wearing my ICT and Health ministerial hats to 2008, and have been as Opposition Finance Spokesperson since then.

I have appreciated the willingness of Indian Newslink to provide space to express views, and its determination to provide balance and contest whatever views were advanced.

That is a hallmark of good quality journalism – a passion for the truth exposed through the contest of ideas by showing all sides of a debate. What a contrast that is to some of the other “pet” publications doing the rounds these days!

As New Zealand strives to mature its own identity in the coming years, quality journalism will have an ever more important role to play.

As highlighted by the recent resignation of a breakfast (National-leaning) TV host after his tirade against our (Labour-appointed) Governor General, there can be no place for bigotry or racism in our emerging Asia-Pacific nation.

In the wake of the global financial crisis and amid the tensions of economic and currency realignment from West to East, the potential for misunderstanding and prejudice could sadly increase.

It follows that we will need as never before, more voices for an ethical and multicultural future in New Zealand.

Going forward, Indian Newslink, it seems to me, has some challenges to rise to as the primus inter pares journal of the Kiwi Indian community.

First, in a market which will continue to splinter and could race to the bottom, differentiate by bringing rigour and insight to readers through contested debate and analytical journalism. In so doing, reinforce your reputation as the journal of record for the community.

Second, be a bridge between Indian Kiwis and the general media.

I would like to see Indian Newslink and its Editor quoted in other publications and placing high quality articles across other outlets.

Third, get on the multi-media bandwagon. There is no substitute for the ability to span print and online worlds as our younger ‘born digital’ generation exercise their thumbs and mice.

Fourth, do not forget that many of our most crucial debates will be economic in nature: how to lift growth and create the jobs of the future; how to increase local savings and investment; how to make the best of our resources and trading opportunities in an increasingly diverse and multi-polar world.

I believe passionately in the future potential of this wonderful country and its magnificent people.

I look forward to the next decade of Indian Newslink helping to shape that future.

David Cunliffe is Member of Parliament elected from the New Lynn Constituency and the Party’s Finance Spokesman. He is seen here with fellow Parliamentarian Carmel Sepuloni (left) and Mary Prema, winner of the ‘Ace Space’ Exceptional Adult Educator Award (Art) on September 10, 2010. Our exclusive story Mary’s heart-rending real life drama appears in our November 15, 2010 issue.

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