KAREN NIGHTINGALE AGAINST THE OTAGO DAILY TIMES

Case Number: 3235

Council Meeting: March 2022

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Ruling Categories: Accuracy
Balance, Lack Of
Comment and Fact
Confidentiality
Discrimination
Deception or Subterfuge
Privacy
Unfair Coverage

Overview

The Otago Daily Times published an article on February 18, 2022, headlined Unvaccinated Dunedin eye surgeon breached Covid order. The story reported eye surgeon Deepak Gupta was charged with seeing patients while not vaccinated against Covid-19 and that he was no longer able to practise as a medical practitioner in New Zealand.

Karen Nightingale said Dr Gupta was operating lawful as he was registered with the Wakaminenga Health Council and that the vaccine mandate did not apply. She said this was underhand and despicable reporting which breached Media Council Principles relating to accuracy, fairness and balance, comment and fact, confidentiality, discrimination and diversity, privacy and subterfuge.

The Media Council accepts that The Otago Daily Times has published a straightforward factual report of information provided by the Ministry of Health that Dr Gupta has been issued with an infringement notice for breaching the Covid-19 Public Health Response (vaccination) Order 2021 that health practitioners can only offer in person health services if they are vaccinated for Covid-19.

The Ministry said his registration as a medical practitioner with the Medical Council of New Zealand was withdrawn at his own request, which means he is no longer able to practice medicine in New Zealand.

The Media Council can see no basis for the complaint. This was a factual account of what Dr Gupta did, and his penalty for doing so. 

There are insufficient grounds to proceed.

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