RIGHT TO LIFE NEW ZEALAND Inc AGAINST THE PRESS

Case Number: 2876

Council Meeting: MARCH 2020

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: The Press

Ruling Categories: Balance, Lack Of
Unfair Coverage

Overview

Ken Orr, Secretary to Right to Life New Zealand Inc, complains that an article published inThe Press on January 8, breached Principle 1, Accuracy, fairness and balance.

The Press published a young leader series which included interviews with five exceptional and inspirational Kiwi Teenagers. The series included a lengthy interview with 18-year-old Mia Sutherland, a climate change activist, headlinedClimate change is already happening, it’s not a futuristic dystopia.

In the interview Ms Sutherland expressed the view that she was unlikely to have a child as it is “one of the worst things you can do for the planet.”

Mr Orr contends the article lacked balance and fairness as it did not raise objections to this view. He says while Ms Sutherland is entitled to hold that view “The foundation of the common good is the encouragement of child rearing. The continuation and survival of our nation depends on the next generation having children. A nation that discourages child rearing is a nation without a future. The Press… is not upholding the common good. Why does The Press consider Ms Sutherland exceptional and inspirational for expressing this anti-life view?”

The Media Council notes that this article was a feature interview with Ms Sutherland, and contained solely her views on various topics, but particularly climate change.It was not a news item. The Council sees no requirement for views such as those expressed by Right to Life to have been included in this feature.

Finding: Insufficient Grounds to Proceed.

There are insufficient grounds to establish a breach of any Principle and this complaint will not proceed.