KERRY BOLTON AGAINST STUFF

Case Number: 3333

Council Meeting: NOVEMBER 2022

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Stuff

Principle: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Comment and Fact
Photographs and Graphics
Corrections

Ruling Categories: Misleading
Unfair Coverage

Overview

Stuff published an article on October 23, 2022, headlined The NZ Proud Boys say they’re just ‘friends’, but the truth is more disturbing.

The article outlined an investigation of a group of men in New Zealand who had picked up the mantle of the US Proud Boys terrorist group. The article named a man who made a violent on-line threat in the name of the Proud Boys against peace activist Valerie Morse.

Kerry Bolton complained that the article was biased and inflammatory and portrayed some of those named as impending threats. The article was also an invitation for harassment and violence against them while Ms Morse’s own background and record of extremism was not mentioned.

He said this omission was a breach of Media Council Principle (1) which states publication should be bound at all times by accuracy, fairness and balance and should not deliberately mislead or misinform readers by commission or omission.

The Media Council notes that the complainant has not provided evidence to show that the article was inaccurate, unfair or unbalanced.

The article was about the Proud Boys and the views of the men who were associated with it, one of whom made the on-line threat against Ms Morse. Stuff gave her the opportunity to respond to those who made the threat. Her history of protest was irrelevant to this story and cannot be used, as Mr Bolton appears to suggest, to justify the extreme language used against her.

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