Case Number: 833

Council Meeting: August 2001

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: Hutt News

Ruling Categories: Balance, Lack Of
Letters to the Editor, Closure, Non-Publication

This is a complaint by Clair Bancilhon against the Hutt News.

Mr Bancilhon complains that the editor of the Hutt News did not publish a letter Mr Bancilhon sent on 17 May 2001.

The Hutt News published on 8 May 2001 a review of a photographic exhibition. The theme of the exhibition appears to be the influence of religion on sexuality. Siren MacLaine, aged 23 years, an artist who was a contributor to the exhibition, had referred to clashes she had had as a schoolgirl, with the then principal of the church school she attended.

On 15 May letters opposing Ms Maclaine’s views were published. These were from the current principal, and a sometime parent and religious education teacher of the above-mentioned school.

Mr Bancilhon’s letter responded to the two letters to the editor. It was not published.

The editor stated that he did not publish the letter because it was too long and not of sufficient local relevance and interest. The editor stated that he considered publishing it edited, but decided letters on other topics should have priority.

The Press Council supports the long held right of editors to decide which letters to the editor be published.

Ms MacLaine’s views were aired in the article and the opposing view was expressed in the two published letters to the editor.

The complaint is not upheld.