The pre-trial agreement

The media in New Zealand have signed up to an agreement regarding coverage of the trial of Brendon Tarrant. It seems that the issue of whether or not he was a white supremacist has already been decided.


We agree that the following protocol will apply to our outlets’ coverage and reportage of the trial:

  • We shall, to the extent that is compatible with the principles of open justice, limit any coverage of statements, that actively champion white supremacist or terrorist ideology
  • For the avoidance of doubt the commitment set out at (a) shall include the accused’s manifesto document.
  • We will not broadcast or report on any message, imagery, symbols or signals (including hand signals) made by the accused or his associates promoting or supporting white supremacist ideology.
  • Where the inclusion of such signals in any images is unavoidable, the relevant parts of the image shall be pixellated.
  • To the greatest extent possible, the journalists that are selected by each of the outlets to cover the trial will be experienced personnel.
  • These guidelines may be varied at any time, subject to a variation signed by all parties.
  • This Protocol shall continue in force indefinitely.

The statement was signed by Media Freedom Committee chair Miriyana Alexander, John Gillespie (TVNZ), Shayne Currie (NZME), Mark Stevens (Stuff), Paul Thompson (RNZ) and Hal Crawford (Mediaworks).

“As a group and as individual editors we are committed to ensuring the outlets we represent cover the upcoming trial comprehensively and responsibly.”

Stuff Editorial Director Mark Stevens said as the “eyes and ears” of the public, the media played a vital role in reporting the trial.

“It’s important not just that justice is done, but that it’s seen to be done.”

Stuff would cover the trial fairly and accurately, without allowing white supremacist or terrorist ideology to be championed, he said. End of quote.


As we are no longer allowed access to the words he wrote before his violent actions, we cannot check the claims about white supremacy.

Having read the whole document before it was banned, I do not recall that phrase being there. I do recall him saying that the nation that most aligned with his political and social values was Communist China. On my last visit, white people were very much a minority in China.

Will his views on being a self-confessed eco-fascist be reported? Will his positive views on communism be reported? Will his libertarian views be reported?

I recall that he admired the fascists’ leader, Oswald Mosely. So what exactly is a fascist? Quote.

A fascist is a follower of a political philosophy characterized by authoritarian views and a strong central government — and no tolerance for opposing opinions. End of quote.

Oh dear! What about certain members of the Greens who have no tolerance for opposing opinions? What about certain members of Labour who want to control our speech? Clearly, we are not into Mussolini territory yet, but we must remain vigilant against authoritarian views and central government edicts that seek to remove individual freedoms.

So, what if he was actually not a white supremacist? We will never know because that has already been decided for us.