At last year’s conference Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good participants identified the lack of access to good quality information to support our role as citizens to be a major issue impacting democracy. This year’s conference is intended to identify what we as citizens can do to improve that situation. The conference is a joint effort of the St Andrews Trust for the Study of Religion and Society and Public Good
How can we get better access to government information?
While a lot concern was focussed on the failings of the news media in NZ, other issues included problems for us to take part as citizens using government information. While services like Parliamentary Services, Stats NZ and the National Library provide excellent public services other parts of the public sector are not working so well. Trade deals that will have incredible impacts on our sovereignty are being negotiated in secret. The Official Information Act (OIA) service is open to abuse. In other instances information that used to be collected has been cut or is missing. Often the public are poorly equipped to use the information that is available for citizenship because of confusing or late presentation.
How can we improve the NZ media landscape?
Our NZ media appears to be selling us short. Apart from Radio New Zealand there is a lack of sector expertise in journalism and much of the coverage is reactive infotainment, press releases that are topped and tailed with journalistic opinion & comment often reporting on trivia rather than investigation and reportage. The opportunity for broadcasting and newspaper standards to be modernised was passed up by the government in favour of cosmetic changes that are an unsatisfactory cludge that does not hold media owners to account. There is no minimum standard for our broadcasters to meet whether private or government owned and, given that the news publishing models are acknowledged by all parties to be broken, no solution in sight for funding public good news and journalism outside Radio New Zealand, Maori TV and Parliament TV. Some huge issues get little coverage.
If you would you like the opportunity to participate in this discussion save the dates and follow on Twitter, our RSS feed, Facebook page or email contact list to hear how the conference is shaping up. We’ll have news about confirmed speakers shortly.
Where St Andrews on the Terrace
When October 9 7.00 – 9.30 pm (free) & 10 October 9.00am – 4.30 pm
$40.00 waged and concessions
Where should we take advice on how to live from? What should I aspire to become? What would count as a fulfilling and dignified life? What kind of community is suitable for both human and spiritual growth? Come and hear Australian secular Buddhist teacher Winton Higgins in conversation with Noel Cheer as they discuss what it means to be human and in community with others.
Winton Higgins began meditating and practising the dharma in 1987. He took up teaching (mainly insight) meditation in 1995, in city classes and in silent residential retreats in rural venues in Australia. Since that time Winton's meditation teaching has developed towards non-formulaic insight practice based on the Buddha's original teachings, while he inclines towards a secular approach to Buddhism. He fosters interest in the original teachings and their affinity with modern streams of thought and progressive social commitments. While in Wellington, Winton will also be running a weekend workshop, information on which can be found HERE
Noel Cheer Winton Higgins