IVAN TURK AGAINST STUFF
Case Number: 3152
Council Meeting: NOVEMBER 2021
Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed
Letters to the Editor, Closure, Non-Publication
CASE NO: 3152
RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF IVAN TURK AGAINST STUFF
FINDING: INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO PROCEED
DATE: NOVEMBER 2021
Ivan Turk complained that his comments about articles were not published on The Stuff website.
“I am careful not to abuse anybody, but get banned just because their own moderator personally disagrees with something that I write, while at the same time consistently breaking their own rules by allowing abusive comments about people in their own stories on a regular basis, i.e. a recent story about Paula Bennett where a load of personal hate against her was allowed to be posted.”
He complained that Stuff had breached principles relating to accuracy, fairness and balance; columns, blogs, opinion and letters; comment and fact; corrections; discrimination and diversity and subterfuge.
The relevant provision would appear to be Media Council Principle 5 (columns, blogs, opinion and letters) which states in part “Letters for publication are the prerogative of editors who are to be guided by fairness, balance and the public interest.”
As previously noted by the Media Council the Stuff Terms and Conditions relating to online comment are a matter between Stuff and its readership. The Media Council has no jurisdiction over such terms and conditions.
The Media Council regards online comment for publication to be like letters to the editor. Editors have always had the discretion to accept or exclude letters, edit correspondence while not changing meanings, or even close down discussion. The exclusion of correspondence is commonly done for good reason, for example when subjects are exhausted or when comments become repetitive, abusive or libellous.
Mr Turk has made a generalised complaint that his comments are being rejected unfairly but has provided no evidence to support it.
There were insufficient grounds to proceed.