Case Number: 590

Council Meeting: DECEMBER 1995

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: Sunday-Star Times

The New Zealand Press Council has dismissed a complaint from Mr T.House of Nelson against the Sunday Star-Times.

Mr House complained that the newspaper, in publishing a letter from him, had deleted and cut sentences and altered punctuation, thus reducing the letter's reasonableness.

The editor had advised Mr House that the changes were made for clarification and that the letter was lightly edited in accordance with the newspaper's policy and that Mr House's message was not materially altered or diluted. Not satisfied, Mr House complained to the Press Council.

On the question of the editing of the letter, the Council noted it had been cut by 40 per cent. It recommends that where an editor wishes to abridge or edit a letter significantly, that letter should be referred back to the writer in the event that he or she may not wish the letter to be published in the altered form.

The Council carefully compared the original letter and the published version and came to the conclusion that the main thrust of the letter was not impaired. Accordingly it did not uphold the complaint.