GEOFFREY FISCHER AGAINST RADIO NEW ZEALAND

Case Number: 3251

Council Meeting: APRIL 2022

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Ruling Categories: Accuracy
Balance, Lack Of

Overview

Geoffrey Fischer complains about an item published on the RNZ website on 21 February 2022 headed Faeces thrown at police at Parliament protest, which covered the escalation of tensions at the Wellington protests, including conflict with police, fireworks being let off and faeces being thrown at police. 

Mr Fischer said the item stated as fact that faeces had been thrown, but this was untrue. Before lodging the complaint, he said he had twice asked RNZ for the source of the information and they did not respond. In their reply to Mr Fischer, RNZ said that reporting of the event was extensive and the throwing of faeces drew condemnation from the Prime Minister. Mr Fischer did not accept this argument, saying the Prime Minister was not the source of the information and she was just repeating the allegation published by RNZ.

In its response, RNZ presented other news items about the incident, including one that said: “On Monday morning, police said a handful of protesters threw human excrement on officers in retaliation for them placing concrete barricades on CBD streets.” The story also reported Police Commissioner Andy Coster saying offenders would be “held to account”.

The Media Council believes that it was reasonable for RNZ to report that faeces had been thrown, as this had been stated by the police and commented on by the Police Commissioner, and there was nothing to indicate that the statement was incorrect. 

No principles were breached

Finding: Insufficient Grounds to Proceed.

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