CHARLOTTE KOZANIC AGAINST STUFF
Case Number: 3447
Council Meeting: 30 October 2023
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Children and Young People
Names Suppression Of
Stuff published an article on 19 September 2024, headlined Man on bail for murder told former partner his co-accused ‘just lost it.’
This was a news report of a murder trial at the High Court in Auckland.
Charlotte Kozanic, who was a Crown witness, said she wrote to Stuff asking for her surname to be removed from this story. She said she was not informed that her name was going to be published. She was concerned that her son, who had the same surname as one of the accused, might be identifiable and might be affected. She also did not want to have her name attached to this case.
Stuff said it would not remove her name. Name suppression orders were at the discretion of the judge and not the media.
“Our role as journalists is to follow the rules of the Court and report with accuracy, fairness and balance.”
Stuff said the story was an accurate report of proceedings before an open court and Ms Kozanic was named on the basis of what she told the Court.
The Media Council can understand the complainant’s concern, but as Stuff points out name suppression is a matter for judges to decide. Witnesses can apply for anonymity, but unless there is a suppression order the news media are free to name them. This is a key stone of open justice. There is no suggestion of a breach of the In-Court Media Guidelines.
Decision: There were insufficient grounds to proceed.