ROBIN MCCARTHY AGAINST THE PRESS
Case Number: 3296
Council Meeting: AUGUST 2022
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Publication: The Press
Principle: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
The Press/Stuff published a story on June 17, 2022, headlined Far-right You Tuber films himself stalking and confronting anti-hate speech activist at his workplace.
The article reported the behaviour of Lee Williams, a man who had previously been dismissed by dairy company Synlait for expressing extreme views on social media, including on a YouTube channel that posted far-right content.
Robin McCarthy challenged the description of Mr Williams as being far right. He believed he was on the far left due to his membership of the Canterbury Socialist Organisation.
Press editor Kamala Hayman responded briefly saying “I think the description of Lee Williams as far right is correct.”
She added that Nazis were National Socialists and were also described as far right.
The Media Council believes there is sufficient information to enable Mr Williams to be fairly described as being far right. It is not clear that Mr Williams is a member of the Canterbury Socialist Organisation (the story doesn’t say that) and even if he was, that would not necessarily make him far left as this complainant contends.
The editor stands by the far-right descriptor and no case has been made that there has been any breach of the Media Council’s principles.
Decision: There are insufficient grounds to proceed.