NEIL BRIDGENS AGAINST STUFF
Case Number: 3114
Council Meeting: SEPTEMBER 2021
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Headlines and Captions
CASE NO: 3114
RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF NEIL BRIDGENS AGAINST STUFF
FINDING: INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO PROCEED
DATE: SEPTEMBER 2021
Neil Bridgens complained about the headline Covid-19: Chief Coroner says there’s no evidence an Auckland teenager’s death was linked to vaccine. The story was published on Stuff on15 September 2021 and reported the Chief Coroner’s statement that speculation that the death of an Auckland teenager was related to the Covid-19 vaccine was incorrect. “Based on the information available to date, it does not appear the death in question was linked to the Pfizer Covid vaccine,” she was quoted as saying. However, the issue would be investigated carefully, she said, and it could be a number of months before all information about the death was obtained.
Mr Bridgens said the headline was misleading as it said there was no connection between the vaccine and the death, yet the story said the investigation would take many months.
The Media Council does not agree that the headline was misleading. The headline was reporting the Chief Coroner’s opinion that there was no evidence that linked the death to the vaccine. Although the headline was perhaps slightly more definitive than the Chief Coroner’s statement, she would not have made the statement quoted in the story if there had been any evidence suggesting a link. It was a legitimate headline reflecting the Chief Coroner’s view of the situation.
Finding: Insufficient Grounds to Proceed.