MARK McCLUSKEY AGAINST NEW ZEALAND HERALD
Case Number: 3221
Council Meeting: MARCH 2022
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Publication: New Zealand Herald
Editorial Discretion / Freedom
CASE NO: 3221
RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF MARK MCCLUSKEY AGAINST THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD
FINDING: INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO PROCEED
DATE: MARCH 2022
Mark McCluskey complained that over the previous six months the New Zealand Herald had rejected several of his on-line comments.
He was told his comment had breached community guidelines but had not received an adequate explanation when he attempted to determine why they were in breach.
He said it appeared the Herald allowed some quite inflammatory comments from some writers while allowing very little from others. “I believe my comments have not breached any standards and that my comments have been unfairly targeted for censorship.”
NZ Herald head of premium Miriyana Alexander wrote to Mr McCluskey saying that comments on its site were moderated before publication to promote safe, civil, and respectful debate. The house rules show there are multiple reasons comments can be rejected.
“I’ve taken a look at your rejected comments and variously seen, for example, derogatory nicknames (Taxinda for Jacinda) and discriminatory language – I can see references to “racist separatist nonsense.”
“The situation is quite straightforward – we have a set of rules, you haven’t met them.”
Media Council principles state that editors have the ultimate responsibility for what appears in their publications. They can set rules for on-line comment, and the Council can understand why the Herald excluded Mr McCluskey’s comments which were considered to be in breach of its rules.
There were insufficient grounds to proceed.