BRIAN BROWN AGAINST STUFF

Case Number: 3119

Council Meeting: OCTOBER 2021

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Ruling Categories: Accuracy
Unfair Coverage

Overview

CASE NO: 3119

RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF BRIAN BROWN AGAINST STUFF

FINDING: INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO PROCEED

DATE: OCTOBER 2021

 

Stuff published an article on September 21, 2021 headlined Dash cam reveals horror of ‘avoidable’ crash that killed almost an entire family. The story was based on a coroner’s report on a 2019 accident in which eight people were killed.

Brian Brown complained that Jennifer Rodgers was depicted in the article as being somehow at fault when the evidence was plainly the opposite.  He also complained that Margaret Luke, the person who caused the accident, was referred to by her first name on three occasions in the body of the report while Ms Rodgers was only referred to by her surname. This was insensitive.

 It would appear that Mr Brown has misread the article. There was no suggestion that Ms Rodgers was to blame. The use of names in the article was consistent with usual media style where full names are used in the first instance and surnames thereafter. It is also usual media style to report direct quotes exactly as spoken. The references to “Margaret” are in direct quotes from the coroner. 

There were insufficient grounds to proceed.

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