Case Number: 772

Council Meeting: February 2000

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: Evening Post

Ruling Categories: Taste Lack of

The Press Council has not upheld a complaint against the Evening Post over an item published on 29 November, two days after the General Election. The article headed "Gracious losers" included the sentence "Mrs Shipley's gracious comments - so unlike what we got from the last defeated National Prime Minister Muldoon -brought TV3 political reporter Jane Young on the telly to a state of prostrate grief: Paul Holmes, of course, was merely prostate."

Peter Foster of Wellington complained to the editor, and referring to the sentence said: "I am disgusted by your printing an attempted joke about someone's life-threatening condition."

The editor apologised to Mr Foster if offence had been taken, where none had been intended, and pointed to Mr Holmes putting his own prostate condition into the public arena. Another reader wrote to the editor about the same matter. In his published letter, he said about Holmes, "when it comes to sheer guts keeping the show on the road, he is a real soldier." Had Mr Foster included his address with his e-mailed letter, his letter could also have been published.

The Council accepted the editor's assurance that no offence was intended to Mr Holmes and noted that while Mr Foster's unsolicited defence of a public figure was laudable, Mr Holmes was able to speak for himself. The complaint was not upheld.

The editor of the Evening Post, Suzanne Carty who is a member of the Press Council was not present at the meeting when the complaint was considered nor was another Council member, Brent Edwards, the newspaper's political editor.