JAMES MATHEWS AGAINST RNZ
Case Number: 3241
Council Meeting: March 2022
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Publication: Radio NZ
Principle: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Balance, Lack Of
Editorial Discretion / Freedom
Names Suppression Of
RNZ published a story on March 18, 2022, headlined Army veteran travels to Ukraine to train volunteer fighters. The story included an interview with a man who RNZ agreed not to name.
James Mathews complained that the story was a breach of Media Council Principle 1 (accuracy, fairness and balance).
“RNZ’s whitewashing of mercenaries goes well and truly too far in this game of manipulation that is being played at the moment and something needs to be done immediately. We will not stand for this garbage in this country. Actions must be taken to stop this nonsense,” said Mr Mathews.
The Media Council cannot find any breach of its principles in this story as there was insufficient detail in the complaint. If it related to the decision not to name the soldier, that was within the discretion of the editor.
Publications generally prefer to use people’s names as they add credibility to a story but, on occasions, the withholding of names is justified. One reason could be to prevent harassment of subjects and their families. Given the controversy and risk involved in going to Ukraine, it would have been a fair call for RNZ to not state his name.
There were insufficient grounds to proceed.