TUMEKE EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Herald on Sunday Editor Bryce Johns
TUMEKE: John Key has compared being recorded by a microphone on a table at a press conference to phone hacking the family of a dead child. Is the Prime Minister attempting to smear the Herald on Sunday to distract voters from what he has said?
Bryce Johns: Yes. What was said potentially changes how some people would vote at the election.
TUMEKE: Our privacy laws are there to protect citizens from a surveillance state, not to protect politicians from being held to account for things they say. How do you as an editor balance what is in the public interest?
Bryce Johns: We have a code of ethics that we stick to. We wouldn't ever bug a politician. But we are bound to consider material given to us, and check how much public interest is in it.
TUMEKE:If Helen Clark had gagged the media over a recording she had made two weeks out from an election, what would the response be?
Bryce Johns: The same as in this case, exactly.
TUMEKE: Does your newspaper stand behind your editorial integrity?
Bryce Johns: So far as i know
TUMEKE: How far are you prepared to go in the public interest?
Bryce Johns: Public interest is a huge thing, it forms so much of the thought about what we do every week. But we have ethical guidelines that, if we broke, would cause our readers to doubt our integrity, which in turn effects our usefulness.