BYRON JONES AGAINST STUFF

Case Number: 3220

Council Meeting: MARCH 2022

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Ruling Categories: Privacy

Overview

CASE NO: 3220

RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF BYRON JONES AGAINST STUFF

FINDING: INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO PROCEED

DATE: MARCH 2022

 

Stuff published an article on January 20, 2022, headlined Destiny Church pastor Derek Tait has a vaccine pass despite his vows.

Byron Jones complained the article disclosed private vaccination status, that it used information gathered from a café that was disclosed for use outside the Covid-19 Act, and that it breached the privacy of data that businesses collect on customers. He also said there was no public interest in releasing this information as Derek Tait did not hold any office. It also appeared this story was published out of spite.

Stuff responded saying that Mr Tait is a community leader who has spoken publicly about his vaccination status and that the story does not breach his privacy.

The Media Council notes Mr Tait has made statements to his congregants about his vaccination status. Such statements were public and reporting them is not a breach of privacy. Any rights to privacy were waived by the public nature of his pronouncement.

Stuff was entitled to report a café owner saying that Mr Tait had produced a vaccination certificate. Tait is a public figure and the public interest in this information overrides any privacy aspect.   

There were insufficient grounds to proceed.

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