Case Number: 2794

Council Meeting: JULY 2019

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Stuff

Ruling Categories: Balance, Lack Of
Censorship, Supression of Fact


Dr Joe Rozencwajg NMD [Doctor of Naturopathy] complained that publication of a “flurry” of pro-vaccination articles and opinion pieces on Stuff and its print publications, while at the same time refusing to publish responses, rebuttals or an informed article against vaccination, amounted to censorship and prevention of free speech.

He argued that Stuff appeared to be following a worldwide trend to mute those who refuse vaccination. He had provided Stuff with articles, references and scientific research to no avail.

He demanded that he and his colleagues be given a voice so that the population of New Zealand could do its own research and make a free and informed choice.

The Media Council in considering the complaint noted firstly that the pros and cons of vaccination amount to a long-running debate over a number of years in which all possible views have been expressed.

Further they said Stuff is under no obligation to seek out and run counter arguments given that there is a widespread consensus that vaccinations have been and continue to be crucial in controlling the spread of serious diseases. It is widely understood that there is a low risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations but the consequences of this are far outweighed by the public benefit of herd immunity when a high percentage of the population has been vaccinated.

There is also a legitimate concern that exaggerated fears and conspiracy theories promoted by anti-vaccination campaigners may leave people open to readily preventable serious infectious diseases.

New Zealand currently has something close to a public health emergency with the re-emergence of measles after it had been eradicated from New Zealand. In that context, the publication of articles and opinion pieces on the benefits of vaccination is a public service. There is plenty of diverse opinion available online for those who want to research further.

Finding: No Grounds to Proceed


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