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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  • Ruahine

    Well Done Whale Oil.

  • cows4me

    Oh dear, poor little fascists. Didn’t even have the guts to outline their complaints to WO, which means they hoped to silence by fear. I hope they never take up poker, they would be broke within the hour, that’s one hopeless bluff right there.

    • Dave

      They would not play poker C4M. It would mean using their own money, assuming they have the means? As others have suggested a $50 filing fee refundable if upheld would see 99% of these vexatious complaints stop. I wonder how WINZ would view a request for an advance for a complaint to OMSA

      • Teletubby

        I think the idea of a deposit like this could deny justice to someone with a genuine grievance, it would be far simpler if OMSA had a provision in their rules to vet all complaints right at the start of the process and be able to reject them if they are obviously frivolous and/or vexatious such as this one.

  • Chris EM

    I feel a bit sorry for the OMSA having their time wasted by people like this. I almost feel sorry for people who deem that they have to wade through a right wing attack blog in the hope of finding something to whinge about.

  • Woody

    I see that the commenting rules have been tightened at that other place and the inappropriate comment about John Key removed. PG is maybe belatedly waking up to reality so trying to copy WO

  • XCIA

    Perhaps OMSA should have provision for “Frivolous and Vexatious” where they can levy fines at all those who deliberately waste its time.

  • Dog Breath

    Oliver is a great example of a rambling left leaning commentator on other blogs who enjoys making personal attacks on anyone who disagrees with his views of the world. Really likes using irrelevant points in making his points. However he also provides great entertainment for those who see him as a humorist rather than a serious commentator.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    This is just a blatant beat-up again from a fool who is content to bypass the established complaint process and waste the valuable time of OMSA. However the Chairman’s decision was clear and concise.
    They surely must have read more into the comments that offended them than any regular visitor missed who are regularly reminded to play fair or get time out. Well done WOBH.

    • Kevin

      This from one of the decisions:

      “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.”

      In other words the complainant, unless he was particularly stupid, was trying it on and being disingenuous.

      • Keanne Lawrence

        Cheers.

  • Justme

    When you can fight dirtier than the opposition and still be squeaky clean, then you have won.
    Pete and Nige do a fantastic job. As the M&M ad goes, “Double their pay!!”

  • Greg M

    How can a person so young be so bitter and twisted ? What the hell is wrong with these people ? Thanks Pete and Nige for keeping us in line.

  • LabTested

    As soon as I see something like this I do a bit of internet stalking. When I searched Joshua James – I came up with a Josh James – Possum Whisperer. (I kid you not)

    It is probably not these people – but seriously – Possum Whispering?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11402111

  • Second time around

    WO is a medium that facilitates free speech in NZ. Pointless complaints to the OMSA can only inhibit such communication. That is not in accord with Green or National values, but, if the TPP censorship is any indication, could be expected from Labour.

    Congratulations of the professional way these complaints were handled.

  • Left Right Out

    If nothing else I have become a little more considered with my comments……

    Commenting her is a privilege not a right and while I have been subjected to comment deletions I like to think I have learned from them.

    My one fear is that people like people like JJ continue to become so offended by others who don’t share their views that one day we will lose our chance to comment

  • Nige.

    You can see from the screen shot thread between Pete and the complainant that he really had nothing. Yet went to the trouble of making an official complaint.

    This is symptomatic of the lefts outrage outweighing their rational.

  • Disinfectant

    And will anyone complain about “Olivers” rant?
    No point really, as it is what it is, for people to see and make their judgements on him.

  • Superman

    There has to be a financial penalty for stupid or frivolous complaints. This goes for everything from Whale Oil to DHBs. Previously I suggested that a complainant should have to lodge $10 with the complaint. If the complaint is upheld the money is returned. If the complaint is dismissed the money is forfeit. This will cut complaints by 99%.

    • Disinfectant

      I have been saying the same thing for objections to Resource Consents for nearly 20 years.
      A lot of them are frivolous, vexatious, anti-competitive and have no substance.

  • Cadwallader

    The OMSA web-site doesn’t record how the committee vacancies are filled. It would be nice to learn how the appointments process is conducted and then perhaps nominate a regular commenter from here to the committee. It would somehow give participation here quite an impressive status. Just an idle thought from an idle fellow at wine time on a Saturday…..

  • RightofSingapore

    By joining OMSA, aren’t you ceding some autonomy to outsiders?

    • Uncle Bully

      Like ceding some sovereignty by signing up to the TPPA? I think on balance any loss of autonomy is well worth the boost in credibility as a legitimate media outlet.

  • crigs

    Well done Whale Oil & all the commenters.
    Do the likes of Stuff, & the newspapers online get overseen by OMSA? If I find some of the comments on their articles offensive can I lodge a complaint at OMSA about them, or are those particular sites not covered by OMSA?

    • Press Council

  • Kapow!

    Another clear example of the left’s desire for free speech – as long as it conforms with their message.

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