GAVAN O'FARRELL AGAINST THE DOMINION POST

Case Number: 2701

Council Meeting: AUGUST 2018

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: The Dominion Post

Ruling Categories: Letters to the Editor, Closure, Non-Publication

Overview

CASE NO: 2701

RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF GAVAN O’FARRELL AGAINST THE DOMINION POST

FINDING: NO GROUNDS TO PROCEED

DATE: AUGUST 2018

Gavan O’Farrell lodged a complaint against The Dominion Post about non-publication of a letter to the editor.

On April 24 a letter was published commenting on the debate around comments made by Israel Folau.

Mr O’Farrell responded with a letter, published on April 25.The original letter-writer then responded with a further letter published on April 26.

Mr O’Farrell then sought to have an additional letter published on April 27 on the grounds that the original writer had “unreasonably maligned” him and had shifted the goal posts in the conversation.He saidThe Dominion Post staff should have recognised this and not published the letter of April 26.

The Media Council notes that Mr O’Farrell and the other letter-writer had a tit for tat exchange on the subject of Israel Folau's comments about homosexuals. The letters referred to each other as they made legitimate and robust debating points. It is not unusual for debate to evolve over an exchange.

The last letter in the series did not malign Mr O'Farrell as he claimed and there was no argument that another letter had to be published to "set the record straight" or clear his name.

We have previously endorsed an editor’s right to determine when to draw correspondence to a close and this continues to be our position.

Finding: No Grounds to Proceed.