Salient: Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Vol. 32, No. 14. 1969.
Opinions expressed in Salient are not necessarily those of VUWSA.
We commemorate this week the anniversary of the most serious protest against the management of New Zealand politics this decade—the disruption of last year's opening of Parliament.
This protest, sparked off by the Arbitration Court's rejection of a general wage order application, expanded to cover a far wider range of issues than the original economic grievance.
The protestors' slogans on June 26, 1968, revived every important issue in New Zealand politics that the two major parties had agreed to ignore. Naturally, so serious and wide-ranging a demonstration had to receive some publicity from the mass media; and these media, confronted by an event which broke through the limits of conventional New Zealand politics, responded by refusing to report it accurately or fairly.
Coverage of left-wing politics has always been the major test of the fairness and impartiality of news services, and this particular test was flunked disastrously.
June 26 was presented to a credulous public as a synonym for violence and irresponsibility. Along with black flags of anarchy, the 1968 French Revolution had, it seemed, come to Wellington.
The balance upset by the prejudice and partiality of the bulk of reportage and commentary on June 26 has still to be righted; Salient, by publishing several features on June 26 in particular, and the demonstrations in general, is trying to right the balance, not in name only of that poor tawdry wretched thing—the student image — but in the name of that far more portentious entity, History.
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