JOAN FITZGERALD AGAINST STUFF

Case Number: 3090

Council Meeting: AUGUST 2021

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Stuff

Ruling Categories: Accuracy

Overview

Stuff published an article on August 22, 2021 headlined ‘An isolated dystopia’: British columnist condemns Jacinda Adern’s zero Covid-19 policy approach.

The article reports commentary carried by the Daily Telegraph critical of New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdown after a single case was reported in Auckland.

The complainant believed comment that undermines medical experts and the Government should not be tolerated. She hoped media standards could prevent publication of inaccurate and dangerous opinion such as this and asked for the article to be taken down and refuted point by point.

Stuff Editor-in-Chief Newsrooms, Bernadette Courtney, said there had been a handful of complaints about the column but defended it saying Stuff aimed to provide opinion from around the world and domestically regardless of whether it was critical of the Government or New Zealand. Opinions from all political perspectives were welcome.

This article reported opinions that may be disagreeable. One of the roles of the media is to cover all sides of an issue, and this was opinion held by some overseas commentators. It may be confronting and contrary to the views of the government and most New Zealanders but Stuff has done nothing more than report what others are saying. The article was balanced with comment that strongly supported the Government’s approach.

There are insufficient grounds to proceed.

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