PAULA MUOLLO AGAINST THE DOM POST

Case Number: 3322

Council Meeting: OCTOBER 2022

Decision: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: The Dominion Post

Principle:

Ruling Categories: Misrepresentation
Politicians

Overview

The Dominion Post published an article on October 3, 2022, headlined Candidate gatecrashes 6-year-old’s birthday party while campaigning.

The story reported that Wellington City Council candidate Paula Muollo had showed up uninvited by the party’s host, spoke to guests about her policies and later posted photos taken at the even on her Facebook page. It also reported Ms Muollo saying that the incident was an honest misunderstanding, it was never a deliberate gatecrashing and she was upset at the host’s complaint.

Paulo Muollo complained that the story had seriously affected her reputation and that she had been abused on the street and online. She said the party was in a church hall and she had been invited in by a parishioner. The reporter, who spoke to her, had failed to report critical points.

Dominion Post Editor Anna Fifield responded to Ms Muollo’s complaint saying the reporter had called her several times and had quoted her throughout the story. The reporter had presented both sides of the story fairly, recounting both versions of events. She was confident the paper had fairly presented the facts and it would therefore not retract the story.

The Media Council does not believe there is evidence to support a complaint that any of its principles have been breached in the reporting of this story.

The article included comment made by the party’s host and Ms Muollo and their perspectives were represented in the story. Ms Muollo went into the hall where people were celebrating a child’s birthday. Although somebody had welcomed her, she would have soon realised this was a private affair. Without the consent of the party’s host, she stayed and took the opportunity to do some campaigning; talked about her policies, left her flyers, passed out business cards and took photos which she later posted on her Facebook page.

No case has been advanced to show the story was inaccurate, unfair or unbalanced.

Decision: There were insufficient grounds to proceed.

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