Case Number: 2722

Council Meeting: October 2018

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Waikato Times

Ruling Categories: Accuracy
Balance, Lack Of
Editorial Discretion
Letters to the Editor, Closure, Non-Publication
Right of Reply

The Decision

Ruling by the New Zealand Media Council on the complaint of Dennis McLeod against the Waikato Times

Finding: No grounds to proceed

Date: October 2018

Dennis McLeod complained a syndicated article on Israel by Gwynne Dyer published in Waikato Times on 8 September, 2018 was full of false information and half-truths.

He said that Dyer had never lived there while those who had lived there and studied the situation, as he had, had no right of reply to such articles. His letters in support of Israel were rejected.

“All we ask if an article is submitted on Israel which is again incorrect as of the facts on the ground, we are able to answer it, and have it published so the public get a better overall picture of events.”

Stuff Waikato regional editor Jonathan McKenzie said Dyer was a world-renowned opinion writer published in legions of newspapers worldwide.

“As the Media Council has made abundantly clear in the past, newspaper editors are under no obligation to publish letters. Simply put, editors – or staff tasked with assembling the letters page – choose the letters they believe are the most engaging for readers.”

He said readers had complained about religious shouting matches in the letters pages and that was what he was mindful of.

Mr McLeod did not provide information to the Waikato Times or the Media Council to back up his view that the Dyer article was full of false information.

The Media Council has no basis for upholding Mr McLeod’s complaint on the cited grounds of accuracy, fairness and balance, comment or discrimination and diversity.

As noted above, editors are under no obligation to publish letters.

Finding: No grounds to proceed.