Case Number: 2875

Council Meeting: MARCH 2020

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Wanganui Chronicle

Ruling Categories: Letters to the Editor, Closure, Non-Publication


Howard Norton complains that of his letters to the Wanganui Chronicle (39 in the last 12 months) 31 have not been published whereas six days a week the Chronicle publishes “Thought for Today” expressing Christian dogma, even though only 36% of the NZ population affiliate to a Christian church. He says this is unfair.

He also contends there are inaccuracies in the Thought for Today published on January 29.

He says it is not credible for the editor to maintain that the Thought for Today submissions are not repetitious when their content and context are repeated instructions, often extreme, on Christian dogma- while at the same time rejecting opinions submitted in response to them.

Kim Gillespie, Editor - Lower North Island and Communities, NZME, advised “The Thought for Today is shared by multiple local churches of various denominations, on a week to week basis.”

The Media Council has said many times that it is the editor’s prerogative to determine which letters to publish, which letters to edit (provided the reader’s views are correctly represented in the edited version) and when to draw correspondence on a particular topic to a close.

Likewise, it is the editor’s right to determine what features on the op-ed pages and if a publication chooses to run a small Thought for Today, or Text for Today column that is its choice.

Finding: Insufficient Grounds to Proceed.

There are insufficient grounds to establish a breach of any Principle and this complaint will not proceed.