PAUL YOUNG AGAINST NEWSROOM

Case Number: 3045

Council Meeting: MAY 2021

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: NewsRoom

Ruling Categories: Accuracy
Balance, Lack Of
Discrimination
Unfair Coverage

Overview

Paul Young complained about a Newsroom opinion piece in which columnist Jim Kayes made his case for supporting one of the two candidates for chairman of New Zealand Rugby.

Mr Young objected to the line we don’t need another gold card toting Pakeha businessman at the helm. He also stated that Kayes’ call for the new chairman not to be a white businessman and that referenceto the game’s disappointingly large proportion of racists, was an unacceptable slander.

He believed the article breached Media Council Principles 1 (accuracy, fairness and balance) and 7 (discrimination and diversity).

The item argued the case for 43 year old Māori businessman and former East Coast union president Bailey Mackey and against Christchurch accountant and long-serving Canterbury union director Stewart Mitchell who is in his late 60s.

This was an opinion piece and was clearly presented as such. A key point highlighted at the top of the article stated: Our rugby union needs leadership that is neither pale nor stale.

This was forthright advocacy and was clearly identified as opinion. It is a matter of freedom of expression. No case has been made out to support a claim that the article was inaccurate and saying an older male Pakeha may not be the best person for the job is a long way from gratuitous emphasis on race. There is a distinction between singling out persons in the major ethnic group in New Zealand, as distinct from those in minorities, and in that context the remarks were not unacceptable.

There are insufficient grounds for this case to proceed.

Finding: Insufficient Grounds to Proceed.

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