SIMON BURSON AGAINST RNZ
Case Number: 3149
Council Meeting: NOVEMBER 2021
Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed
Balance, Lack Of
Headlines and Captions
CASE NO: 3149
RULING BY THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF SIMON BURSON AGAINST RNZ
FINDING: INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO PROCEED
DATE: NOVEMBER 2021
RNZ published an article on October 25, 2021, headlined Supermarket knife promotion leads to dozens of ACC claims. The article reported ACC figures indicating more than 80 claims for accidents from very sharp knives that were given away in a popular supermarket promotion. More than 1.2 million knives were given to customers in a three-month campaign that began in November 2020.
Simon Burson complained that the article breached Media Council principle 1 (accuracy, fairness and balance). He said a clear implication of the article was that the supermarket chain had some responsibility for the ACC claims made and that the presentation of data was unbalanced, inflammatory, a misrepresentation of information and possibly slanderous.
In his view the headline implied the promotion in some way resulted in a significant amount of ACC claims and it would be more accurate to say the vast majority of injuries from knives are unrelated to the promotion.
RNZ complaints coordinator George Bignell said the complaint did not offer any specific examples of how information had been mis-represented. The figures sourced from ACC were factual.
The Media Council considers no questions of inaccuracy or imbalance have been established in this complaint and that no other Media Council principles are applicable. The supermarket promotion meant many people had access to sharper-than-usual knives and some accidentally cut themselves. No blame for this was attributed to the supermarket chain. The topic was of legitimate public interest.
There were insufficient grounds to proceed.