B.MASON AGAINST THE OTAGO DAILY TIMES

Case Number: 618

Council Meeting: JULY 1996

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: Otago Daily Times

The New Zealand Press Council has not upheld a complaint by Mr B.Mason against the Otago Daily Times.

Mr Mason's complaint concerned an editorial entitled "Who's Image?" published next to an abridged speech by Dunedin's Mayor, Mrs Sukhi Turner, entitled "Mayor's vision of prosperous Dunedin."

Mr Mason had written to the editor criticising the editorial and questioning whether the personal principles and policies of a mayor should be presented in a way that might lead others to believe that they were also those of the Dunedin council members. His letter was not chosen for publication.

Mr Mason had no problem with the editor's discretion about letter selection, but he contended that as the letter related to the editorial approach of the newspaper, that an editor who chose to be partisan should also be prepared to publish criticism of that approach, especially as there was no other daily newspaper in Otago is which to air dissenting views.

Mr Geoff Adams, editor of the Otago Daily Times said that the paper had received a heavy volume of letters about the Mayor's speech and some comment on its editorial views. At that date 34 letters had been published under the heading "Dunedin City" in which the views expressed covered both support and criticism of the Mayor.

The Press Council therefore declined to uphhold Mr Mason's complaint.