Case Number: 680

Council Meeting: DECEMBER 1997

Verdict: Not Upheld

Publication: The Ensign

A complaint against an editorial in The Ensign, Gore, about Princess Diana’s funeral has not been upheld by the New Zealand Press Council.

Mr W.G.Faber complained the editorial of 10 September had racist overtones and was offensive. The editorial commented that the Americans would have been jealous of the British organisation of the funeral.

“This was Britain at its very best. There was no need for hordes of police cruisers with flashing lights and Clint Eastwood look-alikes in sunglasses, trotting stoney-faced, besides the vehicles,” the editorial said.

The editor of the paper defended the article to the Council, saying it had been a product of his opinion. Mr Faber had written a long letter to the editor in response to the editorial and this had been published in full.

The Press Council agrees there were parts of the editorial which could have offended some people or amused others. But the editor has the right to express his opinion. Freedom of expression is a fiercely guarded right of a free press.