Case Number: 930

Council Meeting: JUNE 2003

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: Wanganui Chronicle

Ruling Categories: Taste Lack of

The New Zealand Press Council did not uphold a complaint lodged by Ian Little against the Wanganui Chronicle’s April 1st spoof article and associated advertisements. On the front page of the Wanganui Chronicle there was a picture of Osama bin Laden captioned “Osama bin Hidin'” with a teaser comment “By George, Wanganui’s the perfect getaway destination.”. This was followed by a photo on page two with an article headlined “Sheik and ye shall find”. At the end of this article, highlighting the wonderful riches that the Sheik could bring to the Rangitikei region on his April 1st visit, was a pointer to page 10 that featured numerous advertisements for the region. All of them, in some lighthearted way, were linked to the mythical Sheik’s visit.

Mr Little took exception to the articles on the grounds of poor taste and also referred to a biblical curse that would eventuate.

The editor explained that the articles were well signposted as an April Fool’s Day publication and obviously were not intended to be taken seriously. The advertisments that were linked to the Sheik’s fictitious visit were an eye-catching and different way of presenting the regions goods and services. One advert featured camel pies.

The Press Council saw no grounds on which this complaint could be upheld.