JON TURNER AGAINST ROTORUA DAILY POST

Case Number: 2727

Council Meeting: DECEMBER 2018

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Daily Post

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

Overview

CASE NO: 2744

RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF JON TURNER AGAINST ROTORUA DAILY POST

FINDING: NO GROUNDS TO PROCEED

DATE: DECEMBER 2018

On November 22, 2018 Jon Turner submitted a letter for publication to the Rotorua Daily Post.The letter gave his views on the proposed upgrading of the Rotorua lakefront and the cost to ratepayers that would be incurred. The letter was published on November 27, but without one paragraph that referred to a number of posts on theDaily Post’s Facebook page.Mr Turner had analysed these posts and had determined that they showed that a previous correspondent’s comment, that only a “minority of negative ratepayers” were opposed to the plan, was inaccurate.

Mr Turner complained to the editor about the abridgment of his letter and then to the Media Council. The editor had explained that the paragraph had been removed because the commenters to the Facebook page were not necessarily ratepayers. He noted that the letters to the editor rules clearly state that letters may be edited, abridged or rejected at the editor’s discretion.

Mr Turner has a point when he complains about a paragraph being deleted from his letter and the editor did himself no favours by breaking his rule about not entering into correspondence as the grounds for deleting that paragraph were flimsy. Mr Turner may have had his expectations raised by having had a previous letter reviewed and republished.

However, our rules clearly state "abridgement of letters is acceptable but should not distort meaning". Taking that paragraph out did not distort the letter's meaning.

Finding: No Grounds to Proceed.