LINDSAY GILBERT AGAINST STUFF

Case Number: 3171

Council Meeting: DECEMBER 2021

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Stuff

Ruling Categories: Accuracy

Overview

CASE NO: 3171

RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF LINDSAY GILBERT AGAINST STUFF

FINDING: INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO PROCEED

DATE: DECEMBER 2021

 

Stuff published an article on December 8, 2021, headlined Covid anxiety: How to navigate the country’s reopening if you’re vulnerable to the virus.

Lindsay Gilbert complained about an interactive fatality rate calculator that ran with the article which indicated how likely it was for people in a particular age group to die after they have caught the virus.

The complainant said “I’m horrified that Stuff would use these incorrect values to promote their agenda. There have been no deaths in children under 4 from covid. This is a clear lie and is not based on WHO data.”

An explanation, which ran with the calculator, said it was an illustrative tool based on a study and a number of underlying assumptions. The study referred to, which could be linked to by readers, was an analysis of multi-country serology statistics, hospital admissions and mortality. The explanation made it clear that it did not account for the specificities of the New Zealand population.

The Media Council has seen no evidence that incorrect values were used or that it was wrong to say there had been no deaths in children under 4. International data show the Covid risk increases with age but people of all ages, including small numbers of young children, have also died.

There were insufficient grounds to proceed.

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