JESSICA BOND AGAINST THE BLENHEIM SUN
Case Number: 3153
Council Meeting: DECEMBER 2021
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Te Reo and reporting on Te Ao Maori
CASE NO: 3153
RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF JESSICA BOND AGAINST THE BLENHEIM SUN
FINDING: INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO PROCEED
DATE: DECEMBER 2021
This complaint relates to comments published on The Blenheim Sun’s Txt talk page on October 13, 2012.
Jessica Bond objected to the publication of three texts which she said were divisive, racist, ignorant, discriminatory and did harm to Māori. She said The Sun did not balance these statements but continued to allow racist rhetoric to dominate their paper.
She referred to three texts from readers who objected to the greater use of Te Reo, which they felt was being forced on them. One also objected to the use of Aotearoa instead of New Zealand.
At the outset it is important to state that the Media Council is required to give primary consideration to freedom of expression and the public interest.
The Media Council notes that The Blenheim Sun Txt talk page publishes a range of public opinion where a selection of views on a topical issue are run together in sequence to offers a short, sharp and easy-to-read sampling of community views.
The format seems to encourage forthright comment and in this instance it included opinions that some people might find offensive. The complainant may object to the sentiments expressed but the media are entitled to publish statements of opinion from people who object to the use of Te Reo or use of Aotearoa.
It was noted that the Txt talk page gave equal prominence to strong opinions to the contrary. This provided fairness and balance and gave readers the opportunity to see and weigh different sides of the debate.
There were insufficient grounds to proceed.