New Zealand Press Council Public Member Appointments

Monday 18 June 2012, 9:37AM
By New Zealand Press Council

Three new public member appointments have been made to the Press Council, the body that rules on complaints against the print media.

They are historian and writer Professor Tim Beaglehole, former Banking Ombudsman Liz Brown and diplomat and lobbyist Peter Fa'afiu.

Prof Beaglehole, former Victoria University Chancellor, joins the council this month, replacing educationalist Lynn Scott He said he would bring an interest in and knowledge of New Zealand society over many years to the council.

"My training as an historian and my working career teaching history at Victoria University, together with my writing in history and biography, have made me a careful and critical reader, very conscious of what words can do.

"I am a strong believer in freedom of speech and I argue that any restrictions on this freedom must be based on carefully considered principles."

He was conscious of the importance of accuracy and getting things right, which included fairness and balance.

"I don't always go for the middle of the road," he added. "I applaud people who have views."

Liz Brown will join the council in January 2013 when retired Christchurch teacher Keith Lees' eight-year term ends.

Her working career has been largely concerned with human rights and freedoms in various  forms, including citizens' rights protected by the Ombudsmen Act and the Official Information legislation, to consumer rights and more recently the rights of women through work with the United Nations.

Ms Brown notes the importance of having a process that allows the individual to seek a remedy when they have a grievance against a large and powerful organization. 

"I do have a strong bias in favour of self regulation. It has worked well in the banking industry."