CHRISTOPHER WOODHAMS AGAINST CAMBRIDGE NEWS

Case Number: 3316

Council Meeting: OCTOBER 2022

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Principle: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Corrections

Ruling Categories: Accuracy

Overview

This complaint relates to several articles published by the Cambridge News and Te Awamutu News in the two months prior to the October 2022 local body elections.

Christopher Woodhams, who was a mayoral candidate for the Waipa District, complained that he was mis-quoted by comments that were out of order and context, that editorial standards had been broken and that the editor was providing misinformation to cause confusion during the election campaign.

Mr Woodhams said the editor had also presented him as a timewaster and problem in an attempt to have voters question his credibility. The Media Council had some difficulty following this complaint. It appears it stemmed from an article in which Mr Woodham claimed he had been misreported. Although the paper disputed this, the matter was apparently resolved amicably until Mr Woodhams reopened the issue by making social media comment criticising both the paper and the journalist who wrote the article. This prompted the editor to publish a story rebutting Mr Woodhams criticism, and a demand for him to address his defamatory comments about the journalist.

Setting aside the history of this complaint the Media Council must consider whether there has been a breach of any of its principles. It has not been shown that any of the quotes were inaccurate, or that any of the reporting was unfair or lacked balance. In the end, we have nothing before us which establishes a breach. It is on some points Mr Woodham’s word against Cambridge employees and others. The Council cannot rule on that. No inaccuracy or unfairness has been shown. No coherent or substantive argument has been presented to show that any principles were breached.

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