KEN ORR AGAINST THE SUNDAY STAR TIMES

Case Number: 3297

Council Meeting: AUGUST 2022

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Sunday-Star Times

Principle: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Comment and Fact

Ruling Categories: Columnists Opinion
Comment and Fact

Overview

The Sunday Star Times published an article on July 10, 2022, headlined Abortion is not compulsory, opponents turn a blind eye to facts.  

This was an opinion piece by Deborah Coddington commenting on the recent US Supreme Court ruling on abortion. Her article included the comment that the groups opposed to abortion had “every right to their faith and their opposition to abortion, largely based on the churches’ creed that a human soul is formed at conception.”

Ken Orr, who is secretary of Right to Life, said “This is incorrect, the killing of the unborn child is not a religious issue but a human rights issue.”

He also disputed her comments on contraception, vasectomy and health care.

Sunday Star Times editor Tracy Watkins said this was an opinion piece based on the writer’s own personal experiences. The central point was that Mr Orr disagreed with Ms Coddington on the issue of abortion.

“You are of course entitled to do so but disagreeing with Ms Coddington does not make her piece wrong. In fact, you do not seem to have pointed to any particular factual errors - rather, you view the facts differently to her.”

The Media Council agrees. The article was clearly marked as an opinion piece. It represented the personal views of the author who was exercising her freedom of expression.

There is room for argument on all matters of belief and personal philosophy, but no case has been made to show the material facts, on which Ms Coddington’s opinions are based, were inaccurate.

 

There are insufficient grounds to proceed.

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