30 September 2011
Media Arrangements at Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission Hearings
As part of its ongoing inquiry, the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission will periodically hold hearings on issues that arise under the terms of reference, starting at 1 pm on Monday 17 October 2011. Hearings will be held at St Teresa’s Church Hall on the corner of Puriri Street and Riccarton Road in Riccarton, Christchurch.
The Commission recognises the important role the media plays in keeping the public informed and will provide facilities to facilitate the media's work. We look forward to the co-operation of all journalists, camera operators and other media representatives, to ensure the smooth running of the hearings.
- When hearing dates are set, information will be added to the hearings schedule.
- Approximately five days before each hearing begins the Commission will publish a hearing timetable on its website. This will include the general nature of each witness’s evidence and the anticipated timing for when particular witnesses will appear. The timing may change as the hearings proceed.
- The hearings will be held Monday to Friday. In general they will start at 9.30am each day with a lunch break from 1pm to 2.15pm before resuming for the afternoon session. Please note some days may be half days and on occasion a hearing topic may be completed before the end of the week.
- An off-the-record background media briefing will be held from 2 pm – 3.30 pm on 11 October at the hearing venue. The purpose of the briefing will be to inform media about the nature of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission, progress made on the inquiry to date and how the hearings will be conducted.
- If you wish to attend the media briefing please contact Senior Communications Advisor Robin Major at firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 pm on Friday 7 October.
- Due to limited space inside the hearing room, no media representatives (except pool media), will be allowed in the hearings room when the Commission is sitting.
- A portable media centre will be provided directly behind the church hall. This facility will be equipped with a TV monitor showing live footage provided by the Commission’s webcast supplier Tandem.
- Access to the media centre will be available on request from 9.30 am on Friday 14 October to set up equipment and cabling.
- Security guards will patrol the hearings venue after hours but anything left in the media centre is at your own risk.
- During the hearings the media centre will be open the same hours as the rest of the hearings venue. (Approximately 30 minutes before proceedings commence and 30 minutes after they are completed for the day).
- Accredited media will be supplied with access to a free standard wireless internet broadband connection. Media should also provide their own internet connections to ensure certainty of coverage. Senior Communications Advisor Robin Major will provide accredited media with the connection password and the responsible internet use policy which must be followed.
- Tea and coffee making facilities will be available in the annex adjoining the hearing room. This area will be equipped with a TV monitor showing the live feed for the general public in case there are not enough seats in the hearing room or if people arrive late. Please do not work from this area.
- All media please park on the street.
Live Streaming and Video Archives
- To enable media to follow the hearings and file stories on an ongoing basis without having to be physically present, the hearings will be webcast on a dedicated hearings website http://canterbury-hearings.royalcommission.govt.nz. This site will have a live stream and video archives with links to relevant documents.
- The video archives will be uploaded loaded twice a day at 2 pm and 6 pm. Full audio transcripts will be available within 24 hours. The live stream and videos will be hosted on YouTube so will be accessible to anyone in the world with an internet connection. A search engine will enable searching of the videos by date, person, building and subject.
- Bona fide media websites are welcome to link to the hearings website. Please contact Robin Major if you wish to ‘share’ the website content as the Commission retains ownership of this material.
- All bona fide media representatives who wish to attend any hearing and/or receive hearing documents on an embargoed basis are required to register their interest five working days before each hearing begins by sending an email to email@example.com. The email should state:
- Name of Media Organisation
- Type (print, radio, TV, web)
- Staff who will attend/and or want to receive documents
- Email address(es)
- Phone number(s)
- Hearing topic/dates
- Please note media need to register their interest for each hearing.
- While in the precincts of the hearing venue, all media will be required to display their organisation’s photo ID and wear a red media lanyard supplied by the Commission. Please collect your lanyard from Robin Major at the venue.
- There is only space for two cameras in the hearing room – one TV camera and one still camera.
- TVNZ and TV3 are working co-operatively to provide a shared TV and audio feed to accredited media. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or +64 (0) 274 738 699 at least five working days before each hearing begins to discuss your technical requirements and the connectors you will need to bring. Please note the Commission will not provide technical support or equipment for accessing the pool media feed.
- Accredited media can source stills photography from The Press. For more information please contact email@example.com or + 64 (0) 3 9432-805.
- Technical reports, exhibits and submissions will be published on the Commission’s website approximately five days before each hearing begins. To facilitate your work, when possible prior to the hearings the Commission will provide accredited media with witness statements on an embargoed basis.
- Full audio transcripts will be published on http://canterbury.royalcommission.govt.nz within 24 hours.
- The Commission may impose some restrictions on coverage. The media will be advised about any suppressed material by Robin Major.
- Please do not approach the Commissioners or Counsel Assisting the Commission for interviews as it would not be appropriate for them to comment while the hearings are in progress. If you would like a comment from the Commission please contact Robin Major.
- Please do not approach witnesses for interviews before they have delivered their evidence.
- Please respect the privacy of bereaved families if they do not wish to be interviewed.
Conditions of Coverage
The Commission’s Conditions of Coverage are based on standard conditions for media coverage in Court. Acceptance of these conditions is required as a condition of coverage of the hearings.
- At any time prior to giving evidence a witness may apply for orders restricting media coverage of his or her evidence.
- In considering the application, the Commission may have regard to:
- whether media coverage is likely to affect adversely the quality of the evidence to be given by the witness;
- whether the presence of a television camera or a photographer or radio crew is likely to lead to the witness not appearing to give evidence;
- whether being filmed or photographed or recorded may cause undue stress or anxiety to the witness;
- whether being filmed or photographed or recorded may lead to intimidation or harassment of the witness;
- whether the witness’s privacy interests outweigh the public interest in broadcasting that witness’s evidence, given the likely significance of the evidence;
- any other relevant matters.
- The Commission may order that any person covering the hearing:
- must not film the witness anywhere between the time of the ruling and the end of the hearing;
- must not photograph the witness while he or she is in the hearing room or giving evidence;
- must not photograph the witness anywhere between the time of the ruling and the end of the hearing;
- must not record the witness while he or she is giving evidence;
- must not record the witness anywhere between the time of the ruling and the end of the hearing;
- may film the witness but must ensure that the witness, if broadcasted giving evidence, is not recognisable;
- must comply with any other conditions imposed by the Commission.
- Where the Commission makes a ruling, the television camera must be either removed from the hearing room while the witness is giving evidence or turned away from the witness so that it is apparent to the witness that he or she is not being filmed.
Revocation of Authority to Cover a Hearing
- The Commission may at any time revoke authority to cover a hearing if:
- the accredited media representative or someone acting on behalf of the accredited media representative breaches these guidelines or any condition of the grant of authority to over the hearing; or
- the Commission determines that the rights of any participant in the Inquiry may or will be prejudiced if coverage continues; or
- coverage of the hearings is disrupting the Inquiry.
We appreciate your interest in covering the hearings and look forward to working with you constructively. We will endeavour to resolve any concerns or issues prior to the hearings commencing.
If you have any questions on the above arrangements please contact:
Senior Communications Advisor
+ 64 (0) 3 741 3004
+64 (0)21 621 656