Case Number: 3461

Council Meeting: December 2023

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Newstalk ZB

Principle: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance

Ruling Categories: Misleading

Newstalk ZB published an article on July 20, 2023, headlined Police watchdog to review Posie Parker’s Let Women Speak event.

The story reported that the Independent Police Conduct Authority was looking at the policing of the rally in Albert Park, where British anti-transgender rights activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull was drowned out by counter protesters and had to be escorted away after she was doused with tomato juice.

Hilary Oxley complained that the still image and brief video clip that was posted with this article was inaccurate as it showed Ms Keen-Minshull speaking in Hobart. This was misleading and there was no explanation for using an image and video that did not relate to what happened at the Auckland event.

She said the image of Ms Keen-Minshull speaking in Hobart showed two police officers standing close to her as she spoke, where that was not the case when she stood to speak in Auckland.

Newstalk ZB said the video included in the article was clearly titled ‘Anti-trans campaigner Kellie-Jay Keen drowned out by counter-protestors in Hobart.’ Therefore, it would have been apparent to readers that the video they were viewing was of Ms Keen-Minshull’s event in Hobart, Tasmania rather than the event in Auckland referenced in the article.

The Media Council notes that the full title of the video was only visible to readers who clicked on the video to view it full screen. The shorter abbreviated caption on the unexpanded image did not make it clear that the clip was of the Hobart rally.

Clearly it was far from ideal to use the Hobart image and video rather than images from the Auckland rally, which was what the story was about. It was also unfortunate, and probably inadvertent, that the labelling was not available to people who just looked at the smaller version of the clip.

However, the Council does not believe anything much turns on the use of the Hobart clip rather than a clip of the Auckland rally or that readers were deliberately misled. It did not show anything inherently damaging to Ms Keen-Minshull's reputation, even if it was not clear where she was speaking.  It was plainly her and, although it showed her as confrontational, viewers could hear what she had to say, which was not possible at the aborted Auckland rally.

Decision: There were insufficient grounds to proceed.


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