RENEE GERLICH AGAINST SCOOP

Case Number: 2699

Council Meeting: AUGUST 2018

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Scoop.co.nz

Ruling Categories: Censorship, Supression of Fact
Editorial Discretion
Obligation to Publish

Overview

CASE NO: 2699

RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF RENEE GERLICH AGAINST SCOOP

FINDING: NO GROUNDS TO PROCEED

DATE: AUGUST 2018

Renee Gerlich complained that several articles she had submitted to scoop.co.nz had been removed without warning, consulting or notifying her that this was to be done.

Ms Gerlich is a commentator on the topic of prostitution and gender identity. She sees the removal of her articles as surreptitious censorship and grossly unfair. She notes this leaves commentary on the topics unbalanced.

Alastair Thompson, editor of Scoop in reply to Ms Gerlich’s complaint noted that

“Over time it has become clear that your approach to the subject matter lacked subtlety. In addition your combative approach to communicating your views, both on Scoop and elsewhere, appeared unlikely to result in the kind of constructive debate and discussion which Scoop seeks to foster.

With this in mind, and upon further reflection/discussion, we decided it would be better if we removed your articles from our site.”

He apologized for not advising Ms Gerlich that this had been done.

The Media Council agrees that Scoop is under no obligation to publish any material it thinks does not fit its standards. It is an editor's prerogative to select writers and items they publish and the material they consider of interest to their readers can change over time. Questions of taste and judgement are subjective and for a publication to stop publishing work by a particular writer, for whatever reason, is an issue of choice, rather than censorship.

Editors are also under no obligation to leave all the material they have published on line for any particular length of time.

Ms Gerlich has not been censored. There is nothing to stop her from offering her work for publication elsewhere or publishing on her own account.

Finding: No Grounds to Proceed