MICHAEL GAUNT AGAINST TVNZ

Case Number: 3092

Council Meeting: SEPTEMBER 2021

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: TVNZ

Ruling Categories: Accuracy
Balance, Lack Of
Headlines and Captions
Unfair Coverage

Overview

TVNZ published a story on August 10, 2021 headlined Woman shocked at higher car insurance premium when husband removed from policy. The sub-headline read:Females are being charged higher car insurance premiums than males because they’re seen as the “riskier” driver on the road.

The story was based a Fair Go report that a woman was told her premium would increase after she advised the insurance company her husband’s health had deteriorated and he was in no state to drive.

It reported the insurance company explanation that younger women had lower premiums than their male counterparts, but older women were more likely to have an accident than older male drivers, which meant their premiums were higher.

Mr Gaunt complained that the story breached Media Council Principle 1 (accuracy, fairness and balance) and Principle 6 (headlines).He said the headlines implied the insurance industry discriminated against women just because they were female and that this was a biased reporting of facts. TVNZ should not put up misleading headlines that were unsubstantiated by facts.

TVNZ’s complaints committee said there was no basis to conclude the article was inaccurate, unfair or unbalanced and the headline accurately reflected the reaction of a woman who was advised her premium had increased.

The Media Council concurs with the complaints committee. In setting out the reaction of the woman, it was reporting a statement of opinion. It is not shown that any part of that statement of opinion had no foundation of fact.

There are insufficient grounds to proceed.

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