OMSA dismisses two more complaints about us

We were alerted to two complaints to OMSA via Twitter.

I’ve kept a record of the tweets so that when the decisions of OMSA were made public we could show readers what it is we have to put up with from the ongoing campaign to try to silence us.Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 8.23.33 PM

Yesterday OMSA dismissed the complaints. Their decisions can be found online here and here.  

There are some positives, though, from the annoying and vexatious process.

In Complaint James v Whale Oil Beef Hooked (16/007) OMSA noted:

The Chairman accepted the Complainant was offended by the user generated comments on the Whale Oil Beef Hooked article.

The Chairman accepted the preliminary comment from the Publisher which said the article “contains no disgusting comments whatsoever. Commenters are talking about the claims of an animal activist’s complaints about the Easter show and the treatment of animals.” The Chairman noted the Publisher had closed the ability to comment as a precaution and confirmed no comments had been deleted as they met its moderation policy.

Committee Decision (16/004) held that that OMSA had jurisdiction to cover user generated comments on its members websites, and noted in part:

“The Committee concluded that comments posted to any page or platform controlled by an OMSA Member were the responsibility of the Publisher when published. Where news and current affairs material “published online” by any of its Members, using the clear identifiable branding of the Publisher and providing a vehicle for user generated comments, particularly when inviting users to interact, the Committee said it was the responsibility of the Publisher and fell within OMSA’s jurisdiction.”

The responsibility of Publisher to “ensure the content was adequately moderated” and in a timely manner.

The Chairman considered the user generated content and took into account the tenor of the article and said the comments were similar in nature to the content of the article and were not particularly offensive. The Chairman also noted the clear moderation policy of the Publisher and their actions on learning of the complaint. Taking into account the right to freedom of expression under Section 14 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, the Chairman said the comments did not meet the threshold to breach Standard 5 and were not likely to cause undue distress. The Chairman accepted the Publisher had acted responsibly in this instance.

Accordingly, the Chairman ruled the content subject to complaint met the requirements of Standard 5, there was no breach of the Code of Standards and therefore, no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

As you can see our moderation policy has been what has saved us. We have been, and still are, criticised for our moderation policy but in this instance our moderation policy is what has killed off this complaint from the get go.

In complaint James v Whale Oil Beef Hooked (16/008) the Chairman noted:

The Chairman considered the user generated content and took into account the tenor of the article. The purpose of the article was to generate comments about the questions to Ministers. With regard to the concerns about the comments endorsing violence, the Chairman noted the references to ‘smacking’ were about verbal debate between opposing political party leaders, not physical violence. Therefore, the Chairman said the references did not reach the threshold to breach 5e.

The Chairman also noted the moderation policy of the Publisher and their actions on learning of the complaint. Taking into account the right to freedom of expression under Section 14 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, the Chairman said the comments did not meet the threshold to breach Standard 5 and were not likely to cause undue distress. The Chairman accepted the Publisher had acted responsibly in this instance.

Accordingly, the Chairman ruled the content subject to complaint met the requirements of Standard 5 and Guideline 5e, there was no breach of the Code of Standards and therefore, no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

As you can see our moderation policies and our proactive actions in dealing with complaints have met with success and praise. What is abundantly clear, too, is that our comments section is watched and any chance our opponents get to try an attack us will be used.

I am proud of the work that our moderators do, and they do it for free. Pete and Nige are doing a great job and Pete in particular got on to this straight away as you can see from the Twitter exchange. Hopefully, through this issue you can see why it is we have a moderation policy and why it is enforced strictly.

As a side note, many of the people sidelined for non-compliance with our moderation policy now comment at Peter George’s website YourNZ. They bitterly complain still about being sidelined and their rights versus our rights as a publisher.

That same blog and blog owner allows comments like this:

Pete George allows anti-semitism to exist at his website.

Pete George allows anti-semitism to exist at his website.

That comment would not be allowed on this site and the writer of it would be gone.

It shows there is quite a difference between a responsible publisher who submits himself to independent monitoring voluntarily and a sanctimonious git who thinks he is protecting free speech by allowing derogatory anti-semitic comments to exist. As we have seen, OMSA holds the publisher responsible for defamatory and anti-semitic comments like that. Peter George is the publisher and therefore it is actually him who is defaming John Key by calling him corrupt and it is him who is responsible for the anti-semitism.

When I made the decision to join OMSA it is fair to say that some people thought I was stupid. I’ve always had a plan and a strategy and joining OMSA was just part of that growth into being a responsible media commentator. I am glad I made the decision and these latest findings are now the third time we have found to be running a nice, clean and transparent online media site.

If only others would subject themselves to the same standards that I am held to, then you might be able to tolerate their sanctimony.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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