KYLE CHAPMAN AGAINST WAIKATO TIMESThe Press Council has not upheld a complaint by Kyle Chapman against the Waikato Times newspaper.
On April 30 the Waikato Times published an article on page 4 describing fliers sent out by The Resistance Party that targeted Chinese immigrants. Such immigrants in Hamilton were feeling threatened by these fliers, according to a Chinese woman who arrived 12 years ago and now has two Kiwi-born children.
Kyle Chapman, former National Front director and Right Wing Resistance leader, is mentioned in the article as one who has decided to participate in the Christchurch mayoralty race and who believes it is "only a matter of time" before China invades New Zealand, a possibility raised in the flier.
One sentence towards the end of the article mentioned that the leaflets, "along with offensive material about Jewish New Zealanders", had been reported to the Human Rights Commission although they do not meet HRC's threshold for discrimination under the Act.
Mr Chapman complained to the Waikato Times’ editor that lumping his group's fliers in with offensive material against Jewish people was 'deceptive' as it implied that the anti-Jewish material originated from his group.
In the subsequent complaint to the Press Council he requested that the Council determine whether the Waikato Times sought to mislead readers, and had implied that The Resistance Party had distributed anti-Jewish pamphlets.
The Editor’s Response
Replying initially to Mr Chapman the editor quoted directly from the Human Rights Commission's website which had been paraphrased by his journalist. He did not believe that the story implied The Resistance Party had produced anti-Jewish information, but in good faith he was prepared to place a clarification to that effect in the page 3 briefs, 'probably the most well-read section of the newspaper'.
In response to the Council the editor said that while the paraphrase of the HRC statement may have been faulty in its sentence structure, reading the paragraph in the context of the whole article did not convey the impression that The Resistance Party was connected to the anti-Jewish material. He had responded seriously to Mr Chapman and on May 2 had run the clarification in the page 3 briefs, as offered. He rejected claims of misrepresentation and deliberate misleading by the paper.
The sentence that is the subject of this complaint was clumsy, possibly ambiguous and was capable of misleading, but any confusion was speedily corrected by the subsequent clarification.
The Council does not believe that the wording was a deliberate attempt to link the two issues. The comment occurs in the context of a response by Dame Susan Devoy, Race Relations Commissioner, on the production of material that is 'unfair and based on ignorance, intolerance and prejudice' from whomever that material comes.
If any reader was of the mistaken view that the two issues were connected, any misapprehension would have been removed by the prompt clarification.
The complaint is not upheld.
Press Council members considering this complaint were Barry Paterson, Tim Beaglehole, Liz Brown, Pip Bruce Ferguson, Kate Coughlan, Chris Darlow, Sandy Gill, Penny Harding, Clive Lind, John Roughan and Stephen Stewart.