JOHN CLARKSON AGAINST STUFF

Case Number: 3028

Council Meeting: MAY 2021

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Stuff

Ruling Categories: Accuracy
Bias
Discrimination
Unfair Coverage

Overview

John Clarkson complained after Stuff published an article on April 22, 2021 which reported a group of academics and domestic violence experts calling on the Prime Minister to ensure the courts investigate a miscarriage of justice case that saw an abuse victim wrongly convicted of perjury.

He claimed that the journalist who wrote the story “keeps publishing one-sided arguments in an agenda that women are unfairly treated in the Family Court.”

He said it was “well known that men end up worse off from Family Court decisions and yet there is no balance to the stories showing this. It also suggests that only men can be perpetrators of violence.”

Mr Clarkson said he emailed the reporter “offering to share my story of where the opposite was true” to which she responded that “she was only looking at family violence cases and most specifically where violence against women is minimised by the system.”

He believed Stuff had breached Principle 1 (Accuracy, fairness and balance) and Principle 7 (Discrimination and diversity).

The Media Council notes this story was about a specific miscarriage of justice. Rather than taking issue with it Mr Clarkson has made a much broader complaint of bias in Stuff’s coverage of Family Court issues over a period of time. No evidence was offered to the Media Council to support that complaint.

The Council also cannot proceed with his complaint that it had not taken up Mr Clarkson’s offer to “share his story.” This was a story about a particular case and Stuff’s decision not to take up his offer to report his wider concerns do not provide grounds for complaint under the Media Council’s principles cited.

There are no grounds for this complaint.

Finding: No Grounds to Proceed

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