PAUL DAVIE AGAINST STUFF
Case Number: 3309
Council Meeting: SEPTEMBER 2022
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Stuff published an article on August 22, 2022, headlined: Estate agents sacked for racist social media posts stand for Auckland local board. This was a report about Paul and Kathryn Davie, two estate agents who had been sacked three years earlier for making racist social media posts and who are now standing for office in the local body elections.
Paul Davie complained the story about their dismissal was three years old and therefore not news and information was unsubstantiated. He also complained the story had been published without permission and interfered in the electoral process.
Anna Loren, on behalf of Stuff, defended the article saying it was news that Mr
and Mrs Davie were standing for the local board in this year’s election. The facts in the story were substantiated as their names were on the list of nominees, and by previous reporting which reported they had been sacked for social media posts.
As for the claim that the story interfered in the electoral process, she said people were entitled to know about the views of the people they were voting for.
“Rather than interfering in the process, reporting such as this strengthens democracy by arming voters with all the relevant facts."
Stuff did not require people’s permission to publish stories about them. “I am satisfied you were given right of reply before the story was published, but you declined to comment. That fact is included in the story.”
The Media Council finds that no case has been made to show that this story was in breach of any of its principles. The Council believes there is significant public interest to justify reporting on the backgrounds, opinions and policies of candidates standing for public office. This article was in accord with that. The information published here was relevant and no factual inaccuracies were shown. The candidates were given the opportunity to comment and declined so they cannot complain their side of the story was not put.
Decision: There were insufficient grounds to proceed.