Case Number: 716

Council Meeting: NOVEMBER 1998

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: The Dominion

A complaint that an article published in The Dominion newspaper on 24 July was biased, has not been upheld by the New Zealand Press Council.

Mr P.Waring said the article followed the release of a finding by a Massey University study that four out of five households in New Zealand have a smaller total share of the country’s income than they did 16 years ago. The study found that inequality of income distribution had grown more rapidly in New Zealand that in other countries.

Mr Waring claimed it was a biased report because it began with rebuttals of the findings. He believed that giving prominence to the rebuttals belittled the importance of the findings and claimed this was unethical and brought the print media into disrepute.

The Dominion in its defence, maintained that the article was a follow-up on
considerable radio coverage given to the report of the findings on the previous day. It was designed to provide a fresh angle on the story.

The Press Council found that the article was balanced in the information it provided. It was of the opinion that the editor had the discretion to arrange information in whatever order the editor decided. An editor was entitled to progress a story from one day to another and the Council accepted the editor’s explanation that there was no point in repeating yesterday’s story.

The complaint was not upheld.