AMY BRATTON AGAINST STUFF

Case Number: 3087

Council Meeting: AUGUST 2021

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Stuff

Ruling Categories: Bias

Overview


This complaint was about an article published by Stuff on August 8, 2021 headlinedWellington doctor’s anti-vaccination text message to patients being taken ‘very seriously’ by Medical Council.

It reported concern about a Wellington general practitioner who texted patients with a message saying, in part, he could not in conscience support Covid vaccination of children, and pregnant and fertile women.

The article included strong comment from the Medical Council chairman who said there was no place for anti-vaccination messages in professional practice, and similar comment from managers of the doctor’s medical centre and the Health and Disability Commissioner. Comment was also sought from the GP who sent out the text, but there had been no response.

The complainant said the Government and the media were presenting a biased opinion of the pandemic and it was atrocious that honest doctors might have their licences compromised for speaking out.

The Media Council views this reporting as a straightforward account of reactions to an event. The issue was plainly one of public interest. There is no reason to believe any of those quoted have been inaccurately reported or plainly lacked a factual foundation. No arguable case has been shown that the article breaches any Media Council principles.

There are insufficient grounds to proceed.

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