Case Number: 2920

Council Meeting: JULY 2020

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Radio NZ

Ruling Categories: Balance, Lack Of
Censorship, Supression of Fact


On May 18, 2020 RNZ published a story Police investigate weekend cell phone tower fires. The article reported that police were investigating two fires at cell phone towers in Auckland and a further suspicious fire in Wellington was also being investigated. In recent weeks 17 transmitters had been damaged in New Zealand. Repairing the damage was costing several hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The article said the knocking out of cell phone coverage was putting lives at risk as there was the potential for calls to emergency services not getting through.

The article included comment from Martin Gledhill, an expert in electromagnetic fields (EMF) and radiofrequency (RF) fields, who sought to reassure concerned people that there was no evidence that 5G caused health problems for humans. This was backed up by advice from the WHO.

Michael Fleck complained that the article was unbalanced as it should have included information about the health risks from 5G. He cited and gave links to several sources that supported his view that there was an imminent explosion of several (listed) disorders associated with EMF and RF exposure.

The Media Council notes this matter falls into the category of a long-running issue so not every side needs to be aired on every occasion. In this case the report was generated by a spate of cell phone tower fires and the investigation of a crime.

Further the Council does not have the expertise to evaluate scientific accuracy, but it seems the anti-5G theory has been widely debunked.

The Gledhill comment was included to reassure the public who might have become concerned about claimed health risks, considering the level of activity in the criminal element of the anti-5G movement. There was no need for comment from those opposed to 5G.

Mr Fleck’s complaint about a further RNZ programme has been set aside as it had not been put to the broadcaster.

Finding: Insufficient Grounds to Proceed.

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