Govt explores case for new public broadcaster

Govt explores case for new public broadcaster

The Government will explore the case for a new public broadcaster cobbled together from the existing two, Television New Zealand and Radio New Zealand, Marc Daalder reports

The Government will complete a business case examining the possibility of creating “a new public media entity as an independent multiple-platform, multi-media operation,” Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi has announced.

Final decisions about Television New Zealand and Radio New Zealand won’t be made until the case has been reviewed by Cabinet. Faafoi said he expected to receive the report, which will be written by consultancy firm PwC, around the middle of 2020.

The announcement comes as Three, the country’s private, free-to-air broadcaster, has begged for the Government to rein in TVNZ. TVNZ competes commercially with Three but has not had to pay dividends this year. MediaWorks has put Three up for sale but intends to keep hold of its profitable radio division.

There are also worries that, if it cannot find a buyer, MediaWorks will simply shut down Three.

NZME and Stuff, which between them own the vast majority of the country’s newspapers and the other half of New Zealand’s for-profit radio stations, have also been encouraged to merge by New Zealand First. The first attempted “StuffMe” merger was canned by the Commerce Commission over concerns about media diversity.

Faafoi referenced the fraught media environment in his announcement on Friday.

“It’s well known that New Zealand’s media sector, both public and private, is facing unprecedented challenges with competition from the likes of Google and Facebook, declining revenue shares, and changes in when and how audiences access their information and entertainment,” he said.

“The Government must ensure New Zealanders have a strong independent public media service for decades to come, which means ensuring public media assets are fit for the future and able to thrive amid the changing media landscape.”

Faafoi said that NZ On Air, which funnels some Government money to commercial and non-commercial media outlets alike, will continue to operate. It was not immediately clear whether Faafoi planned to boost funding to NZ on Air. New Zealand has the second-lowest per capita public subsidy for public broadcasters in the world, at about $20 per person. Only the United States, which funds public broadcasters to the tune of $3.50 per person, is lower.

Newsroom will update this article as more information becomes available.

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FGM doctor arrested in Egypt after girl, 12, bleeds to death | Global development | The Guardian

A doctor has been arrested after the death of a 12-year-old girl he had performed female genital mutilation (FGM) on.

Nada Hassan Abdel-Maqsoud bled to death at a private clinic in Manfalout, close to the city of Assiut, after her parents, uncle and aunt took her for the procedure.

Her parents and aunt were also arrested after reports of her death emerged.

The doctor, 70, carried out the procedure without anaesthesia, without a nurse present and without any qualifications as a surgeon, according to local prosecutors.

The surgeon, known only as “Ali AA” claimed the family brought the girl to him for “plastic surgery” on her genitals.

Family members reportedly admitted that they knew they were taking the child to undergo FGM, and that her mother and aunt had stayed in the room during the procedure.

FGM involves the removal of the clitoris and sometimes other external female genital organs. Tradition in some parts of rural Egypt demands that young women undergo FGM as a way of demonstrating sexual purity.

The police and officials carrying out investigations don’t care about domestic and sexual violence, including FGM

Egyptian authorities have struggled for years to eradicate the practice, despite a 2008 ban and new laws in 2016 criminalising parents and doctors who facilitate it. Under the new laws, anyone who performs FGM faces between three and 15 years in prison, while anyone accompanying girls or women to be cut faces up to three years in jail.

But campaigners warned at the time that the new laws were unlikely to combat the practice, given the lack of convictions of doctors and reliance on people to self-report. They also warned more girls could be taken to hospitals or other medical facilities to have the procedure, meaning that complications were less likely but so was public knowledge of the practice itself.

In 2013, 13-year-old Sohair al-Bata’a died as a result of FGM. Raslan Fadl was the first doctor to be convicted of FGM, serving three months of his sentence in a case considered a watershed in convincing Egyptian lawmakers to criminalise the practice.

Fadl was released after reconciling with the Bata’a family, a loophole in the law that campaigners say shields families and doctors from prosecution.

“FGM continues to occur because there is no desire from the political leadership to stop it. The state is tolerant of female genital mutilation despite the presence of law, and despite receiving funds and grants from abroad [to combat it],” said Reda El Danbouki, a lawyer and campaigner against FGM.

He said judges fail to apply the law because they “are affected by a culture which does not see FGM as a crime”.

He added: “The police and the officials carrying out investigations don’t care about domestic and sexual violence, including FGM.”

Danbouki criticised Egypt’s doctors’ syndicate for suspending convicted doctors rather than removing them permanently from the register.

According to Unicef, 87% of of females aged 15 to 49 have undergone FGM in Egypt. About 14% of girls under 14 have been cut.

An estimated 27.2 million Egyptian women and girls had been subjected to FGM in 2016, according to Unicef, out of a population of almost 100 million.

Rania Yehia, of Egypt’s National Council for Women, an initiative affiliated to the presidency, said that her organisation would continue to campaign to raise awareness.

Yehia maintained that the strength of tradition in rural Egypt makes the problem hard to combat, but blamed the persistence of the issue on external factors. “This habit comes from outside Egypt. It comes from elsewhere in the continent of Africa … not from north Africa,” she said.

Additional reporting by Adham Youssef

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