HEIDI DRAGICEVICH AGAINST NEW ZEALAND HERALD
Case Number: 3110
Council Meeting: SEPTEMBER 2021
Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed
Heidi Dragicevich complained about a story published in the New Zealand Herald on 20 August 2021 headlined Brierley sentencing: Businessman faces justice over possession of illicit child images. It covered the sentencing hearing of Ron Brierley and some background about him.
Ms Dragicevich complained that when high profile people were convicted on such charges there was extensive media coverage. The more usual abuse, commonly by family members, did not receive the same coverage. The focus on unusual cases in the media increased the stigma and shame of reporting more usual family-related cases of abuse. Ms Dragicevich said she had done research in this area she was willing to share and was motivated by the wish to stop child abuse.
The Herald dismissed Ms Dragicevich’s complaint saying that the story was simply a report of a specific court case in Australia. It did not accept her criticism that it had failed to contextualise broader child abuse issues in New Zealand.
The Media Council noted that the story in question was a factual report about a particular court case. The media is not required to broaden a court story about possessing illicit child pornography into a wider examination of the complexities of child sexual abuse. The story was factual and did not lack balance.
Finding: Insufficient Grounds to Proceed.