KLAUS KURZ AGAINST THE NORTHERN ADVOCATE
Case Number: 3227
Council Meeting: MARCH 2022
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Publication: Northern Advocate
Principle: Accuracy, Fairness and Balance
Letters to the Editor, Closure, Non-Publication
Right of Reply
CASE NO: 3227
RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF KLAUS KURZ AGAINST THE NORTHERN ADVOCATE
FINDING: INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO PROCEED
DATE: MARCH 2022
The Northern Advocate ran an article on 1 March 2022 headlined NZ “too slow” in face of climate warnings. The story was about a new report by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change.
Klaus Kurz complained the editor of the Northern Advocate did not allow him to respond adequately to the article which “dealt with the subject in a very one-sided way that corresponds only to the politically correct narrative as it always happens in publications of this newspaper,”
There was a lengthy exchange of emails between Mr Kurz and the editor Rachel Ward which preceded this complaint.
In the first instance Mr Kurz was advised his opinion piece, which he described as a counter-thesis, was too long for the paper to use and he was asked whether he could shorten it to 400 words. Mr Kurz replied saying he could not possibly reduce his 3000-word piece by that much.
When he was advised a letter to the editor could be considered for publication, Mr Kurz asked whether it could be run with two graphs.
The editor replied saying he could write a letter or provide a 400-word opinion piece but with the space available there would be no room for graphs.
The Media Council can see the editor went out of her way to give Mr Kurz the opportunity to set out his views, but he chose not to take up the options offered to him.
The issue of fairness and balance does not apply as climate change is a long-running issue where the counter arguments have been all been well rehearsed and there is no obligation to repeat them whenever another piece is run on this subject.
It is fundamental that editors have a discretion as to which articles are published. The Media Council has long refused to dictate to editors what they should accept.
There were insufficient grounds to proceed.