People have written to me, and plenty of other have written blog posts and tweets suggesting that I would get hammered by the Press Council for my posts.
I’m not so sure.
Have a read of this complaint against the NZ Herald and Bob Jones after his column on women drivers:
1. There are two complaints, by Wendy Allison and Brendon Blue, about a Bob Jones column published in the New Zealand Herald on 22 October 2013, âSpare us from road-clogging womenâ. The complaints are not upheld.
2. In his column Bob Jones claimed that âterrifiedâ women drivers were stopping at roundabouts and causing âmassive pile-upsâ and delays. They were also blocking the free flow of traffic by persistently driving in the right-hand lane.
3. As for people who complained about him weaving around the women drivers, he said he had suggested to police that they would be âdoing Godâs work by going to the complainantsâ homes, beating the crap out of them and burning their houses downâ.
4. Ms Allison said the column contributed to a culture in New Zealand of sexism and misogynist violence. It incited violence against women and amounted to hate speech.
5. The attitudes expressed by Jones were common in New Zealand; they were damaging and contributed to discrimination against women. As such as they were in breach of the Press Councilâs principle dealing with discrimination.
6. She says the media has a role in influencing cultural attitudes, but the Herald was condoning this negative culture by publishing the column.
7. Mr Blue complained that the column was misleading, discriminatory, perpetuated negative and inaccurate stereotypes. As such, it breached Press Council principles dealing with fairness, accuracy and balance and discrimination.
8. Its representation of women drivers was inaccurate because data suggests that women may be superior drivers. He accepted that the column represented Sir Robertâs opinion, but this did not allow him to mislead readers by omitting information that contradicted his view â namely official accident statistics which Mr Blue supplied to the Press Council.
9. He said the column explicitly and wilfully condoned violence against women and appeared threatening, abusive and insulting. Like Ms Allison he said the column bordered on hate speech.
10. Mr Blue sought an apology from the Herald for publishing the column and asked the newspaper to review Sir Robertâs continued employment as a columnist. Â Read more »