DONALD WATSON AGAINST THE WESTERN LEADER

The New Zealand Press Council has declined to uphold a complaint against the Western Leader for publishing vulgar language used by Warriors coach Mark Graham to describe his team.

Henderson resident Mr Donald Watson complained to the Council that following the Warriors 14-28 loss to the Sydney City Roosters the Western Leader had published a quote from Mr Graham saying, “I am very very pissed off about the crap we served up to our fans.” Such language was in bad taste, he said, was not suitable for use in public and should not have been printed.

Mr Watson also complained that when he wrote to the editor of the paper criticising publication of such language his letter was neither printed nor acknowledged.

The editor responded that Mr Watson’s letter had not been acted upon because there was no record of it having been received in the newspaper office. The sentence quoted had been used by Mr Graham at a widely attended media conference and was published because it indicated the extent to which the coach had become disaffected with his team.

The editor said the particular words Mr Watson found in bad taste were slang in common use.

The Council noted that newspapers did have a responsibility to exercise judgment when printing vulgar language and this was particularly true of community newspapers which were delivered to every home and likely to be seen by young people. The words used by Mr Graham would obviously be offensive to some people and editors should think carefully before printing such language in their newspapers.

The complaint was not upheld.

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