AARON SOWRY AGAINST RNZ

Case Number: 2681

Council Meeting: JULY 2018

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Radio NZ

Ruling Categories: Conflict of Interest

Overview

CASE NO: 2681

RULING ON THE COMPLAINT OF AARON SOWRY AGAINST RNZ

FINDING: NO GROUNDS TO PROCEED

DATE: JULY 2018

Aaron Sowry complains that an RNZ online article My Food Bag says yeah-nah to legal threat over hello published on June 25 breached the Media Council’s Principle relating to conflicts of interest.

The article reported on threatened legal action from a Berlin-based food delivery service HelloFresh over My Food Bag’s use of the phrase in its ‘Hello Fresh Start’ Programme. The article included My Food Bag’s cheeky letter of response to the lawyers concerned which included plenty of Kiwi vernacular.

Mr Sowry notes the article included the words ‘My Food Bag’ in six out of seven sentences in the article and he found it difficult to accept that this was not a public relations exercise. He sought reassurance that the tax-paying public was not being exposed to guerrilla advertising poorly disguised as news.

RNZ responded that they could not agree with Mr Sowry’s characterisation of the story. The story was legitimate and in the public interest especially given the international nature of the legal challenge. They noted there was no endorsement of the product given.

The Media Council also does not see the story in the same light as Mr Sowry.It would have been difficult to write the story without the references to the brand name, just as it would for any company / product involved in such a case.Likewise the tongue in cheek response to the legal challenge and the Kiwi humour in the letter made it a ‘sitting duck’ for publication.

The Media Council finds no breach of the conflict of interest Principle and the complaint will not be accepted for processing.

Ruling: No Grounds to Proceed