New Zealand FM confirms Indian complaint against TVNZ presenter

08:44, October 08, 2010      

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New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully confirmed on Friday that the Indian government has formally complained about offensive remarks from Television New Zealand Breakfast program host Paul Henry.

The foreign minister said in a statement that he would indicate to the Indian government that the comments were the actions of one person, made in a country in which freedom of speech is an important foundation principle.

"However it is always regrettable when a prominent individual abuses the freedom of expression, which is one of our basic rights, to cause offense to others. That is especially the case when the person offended against is a prominent public figure in another country," McCully said.

"The New Zealand High Commissioner has apologized for the offense caused. That is appropriate. The actions of Mr. Henry in this case can only be described as gratuitous and insulting," he added.

"I will make it clear to the Indian Government that TVNZ operates on a basis that accords it statutory independence from the New Zealand government.

McCully said any action against Henry is a matter entirely for TVNZ or for the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Dave Currie, the head of New Zealand's Commonwealth Games team, currently in India, said Paul Henry's remarks about Delhi's Chief Minister were extraordinarily disappointing.

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