New Zealand broadcaster apologises and suspends journalist over 'pro-Russian propaganda'

RNZ CEO expresses shock and vows to address the breach in editorial process after journalist alters articles with pro-Kremlin bias.

New Zealand broadcaster apologises and suspends journalist over 'pro-Russian propaganda'
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New Zealand’s public broadcaster has been forced to apologise to the public and stand down one of its journalists after pro-Russian propaganda was found in its articles.

RNZ chief executive Paul Thompson said a sub-editor had re-written news stories to include “pro-Kremlin garbage” on the broadcaster’s website.

“We’re feeling shocked and stunned,” he said.

“Personally, I’m so gutted by it. We’ve let our audience down. I need to make sure we have a robust process.”

The journalist in question had admitted that he had been re-writing stories for at least five years to include pro-Russian bias before being caught out.

“I subbed several stories that way over the past number of years, in fact, since I started [at] Radio New Zealand,” the journalist said in a statement.

“And I have done that for five years and no one has tapped me on the shoulder and nobody told me I was doing anything wrong.”

RNZ released a list of 15 articles that the journalist had edited to be pro-Kremlin.

The edits typically made Ukraine sound like the bad guys in the war with Russia who were said to be acting legitimately by invading Ukraine.

Thompson said there were thousands more articles that needed to be checked.

“I think this is a time for us working together to fix the problem. There have been breaches of our editorial policy. It’s really disappointing,” he said.

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