JONO STUDHOLME AGAINST STUFF

Case Number: 3179

Council Meeting: DECEMBER 2021

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Stuff

Ruling Categories: Advocacy
Columnists Opinion

Overview

CASE NO: 3179

RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF JONO STUDHOLME AGAINST STUFF

FINDING: INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO PROCEED

DATE: DECEMBER 2021

 

Stuff ran an opinion piece on December 10, 2021, headlined Urgency required, or more will die needlessly.

The article by Patient Voice Aotearoa advocate Penny Tucker argued the case for Pharmac to be overhauled.

Jono Studholme complained the article undermined what Government was doing to serve the public and was an opinion piece which was trying to sway opinions rather than inform readers. 

He said that Pharmac was vital to the safety of New Zealanders and should not be undermined in such an unprofessional manner, and by using the current pandemic as leverage on the issue.

The Media Council’s Statement of Principles holds that there is no more important principle in a democracy than freedom of expression. The media is jealous of guarding that freedom and has always provided a forum for expressions of opinion.

There are two provisos – that the opinion is clearly identified as such and that it should be based on a foundation of fact without clear factual errors.

This article was clearly marked as opinion. It was a piece of advocacy and the writer’s affiliation was set out.  No factual errors have been made out.

There were insufficient grounds to proceed.

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