Press Council

Nippert slammed for tweet in Press Council finding

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Rodney Hide has partially won a Press Council complaint against the NZ Herald and Matt Nippert, one of their more dishonest reporters.

Columnist and former politician Rodney Hide has partially won a Press Council complaint against theNew Zealand Herald in which he took issue with a journalist?s personal tweet.

Mr Hide complained to the Press Council about an article by Herald business journalist Matt Nippert that covered proceedings in the High Court involving David Henderson.

The article referred to earlier proceedings and mentioned the current hearing was ?undercutting many of Hide?s claims? he made in previous columns he wrote about the issue.

Mr Hide?s complaint said the article was unfair and inaccurate for a number of reasons but this complaint was not upheld.

Furthermore, Mr Hide filed a secondary complaint about a tweet on Mr Nippert?s personal Twitter account.

?Short write-up of court ruling morphed into 1600-word Greek-style epic featuring crimes, c*nts, lulz and ex-MPs. In @nzheraldbiz Saturday,? the tweet said.

Mr Hide said the tweet lacked accuracy, fairness and balance and was ?offensive and displaying a lack of professionalism by a senior journalist.?

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No surprises, Herald found guilty of misleading headline

The NZ Herald really is having a bad run. David Fisher was found to have lied in one of his articles, numerous other findings in the Press Council against them and now yet another one where the NZ Herald has been found out, misleading people with dodgy headlines.

The Decision

11.Principle 6 reads:

6.Headlines and Captions

Headlines, sub-headings, and captions should accurately and fairly convey the substance or a key element of the report they are designed to cover.

12.We are concerned only with the headline. The story records that a number of female MPs, for the first time, publicly acknowledged that they had suffered sexual abuse.They were Mms Turei, Logie, Delahunty and Williams. The story revealed the comments by those MPs briefly outlining the abuse they had suffered.The story states that the Labour MP, Ms Williams, was thrown out of the debating chamber, which by reference to Hansard is incorrect.The MPs asked to leave were not amongst those who revealed the abuse, although they were involved in various points or order in an attempt to have the Prime Minister apologise.? Read more »

How many more Press Council complaints being upheld will it take before the editors realise a newspaper has a problem?

Another Press Council complaint against a newspaper has been upheld, making it three adverse findings in a row.

A reporter and the newspaper were found to have made up a story earlier in the year, then last week the pony-tail finding slammed them again and today it has been announced that another complaint has been upheld.

Paul Cronin complains that an article headed ?Former Black Cap Mathew Sinclair Flees with Kids after Domestic Incident? published by the Herald on Sunday online and in its 19 April 2015 print edition breaches the Press Council?s Principles two (Privacy), three (Children and young people) and eleven (Photographs and graphics).

The story related to an incident involving the former Black Cap cricketer Mathew Sinclair which was domestic related.

Mr Cronin complains as a third party. The Council does not always accept third party complaints. It has decided to accept the complaint in this instance given its importance.

The complaint is upheld. ?

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Radio New Zealand deleted this. Why?

First some text, for Google goodness:

The waitress who accused the Prime Minister of repeatedly pulling her ponytail has concluded mediation with her former employers, says a union.

The head of Unite, Mike Treen, said the union supported Amanda Bailey during talks with the owners of Auckland’s Rosie Cafe, which brokered a controversial interview with the New Zealand Herald.

In a ruling released today, the Press Council upheld several complaints against the newspaper for using subterfuge to obtain the interview and for failing to treat Ms Bailey fairly.

Mr Treen said all matters discussed during mediation would remain confidential, but he confirmed Ms Bailey no longer worked at the Parnell cafe, which was a favourite haunt of John Key’s.

Meanwhile, the blogger who first published Ms Bailey’s anonymous account of the hair pulling said he was not surprised by the Press Council’s censuring of the Herald.
But Martyn Bradbury said despite the ruling, the newspaper had not suffered any real consequences.

“There needs to be a real examination of the standards the New Zealand Herald put into place here,” he said.

“And also, what really can a press council sanction do? This is still a fairly toothless watchdog.”


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When it isn’t the Herald making stuff up it is Fairfax

Two weeks ago?the Press?Council busted the NZ Herald and David ‘Tainted’ Fisher for making stuff up. The Herald and Brian Gaynor also had to apologise to Mark Hotchin for defamatory comments made in their articles about him,

This morning on there is a grovelly apology from Fairfax over a story they have made up about Stephen Jennings.

Last week, published an article regarding New Zealand businessman Stephen Jennings, and his business activities in Kenya and Russia.

The article may have been interpreted as implying that Mr Jennings’ business activities in those countries were unethical and open to criticism. It also implied that Mr Jennings was a business rival to Bill Browder, a well known American businessman, and wanted to destroy him. accepts that none of these statements or implications have any factual basis or legitimacy. No attempt was made to contact Mr Jennings prior to publication, and we accept that had we done so, the article would not have contained those statements or implications. ? Read more »

Another Herald journo judged by his peers to have lied

On November 7 last year David Fisher ran a shabby hit piece against Customs and also Maurice Williamson about OIA processes inside the department.

Despite complaints to the NZ Herald they refused to withdraw the article even though factual errors had?been pointed out to?them. Shayne Currie the editor fought the complaints vociferously.

Customs persisted and complained to?the?Press Council.

The Press Council has found that David Fisher essentially made stuff up, in effect he lied in his article.

Wide concerns among the media and the public have led the Ombudsman to launch an investigation into Official Information Act practices in the public sector.
The Herald may have been entitled to form the view that departmental rules and guidelines, including requirements for consultation, do open the way to political influence and interference in information releases.
But the documents provided to the Herald, and referred to in the article, do not grant the minister the freedom to change whatever is released.
Therefore the part-sentence included in the article is factually incorrect and the Council upholds the complaint on that basis.

Press Council members considering the complaint were Sir John Hansen, Chris Darlow, Tim Beaglehole, Liz Brown, Jenny Farrell, Sandy Gill, Marie Shroff, Vernon Small, Mark Stevens and Stephen Stewart.
John Roughan took no part in the consideration of this complaint.

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This is what Fairfax and Waikato Times calls an apology

Yesterday we wrote about the slamming the Waikato Times got from the Press Council…with all the professional media people on the Council and the EPMU hacks all voting to uphold the complaint.

Only the womble members voted against.

The Waikato Times thought that despite them featuring their hatchet job on the front page despite there being not a shred of evidence to support their claims, that they would run the apology in the middle of the Christmas holidays and buried inside the paper. They preferred instead to focus on the jubblies of Miss Whangamata for their front page.

Their apology, such as it is is now online.

fairfax-apology Read more »

Waikato Times slammed for front page fiction [UPDATED]


The Waikato Times has been slammed by the Press Council for their front page fiction about Young Nats burning Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, a story gathered by their “news” team from the Facebook page of a NZ First activist.

The Press Council recognises that social media are a frequent source of information that can be checked and developed into stories capable of meeting the standards of accuracy, fairness and balance expected by readers of a reliable newspaper.

In this case the Council does not believe the newspaper had sufficient corroboration of the claim on Facebook. The Times? additional source, a student who would not be named, claimed to have seen Mr Letcher with more than 200 books. If that statement were true, it does not establish that Mr Letcher intended to burn them.

The Facebook posting as reported by the Times, said, ?So apparently the CNI Young Nats (and presumably the NZ Young Nats) are buying up copies of Nicky Hager?s # Dirty Politics….and burning them.? The word ?apparently? should be noted. It suggests the information was at best hearsay, at worst an assumption by a person associated with a rival political party.

The Times called it ?rumour? but its report also claimed to have confirmed part of the rumour. It is therefore difficult to accept the Regional Editor’s response that the paper was merely reporting an allegation. Its confidence in its own source and its decision to splash the book burning allegation across its front page would have given the story credibility in the minds of some readers.

While Mr Letcher?s denial was also reported prominently, this does not redeem the report. Newspapers need to be careful when dealing with rumour that is denied. A false accusation can easily be made for the purpose of forcing a political opponent to deny it publicly. That indeed is said to be a device of ?dirty politics?. Newspapers should take care to ensure they are not unwitting instruments of it.

The Waikato Times could not substantiate this rumour to a standard that meets the Press Council?s principles of accuracy and fairness. Mr Letcher?s complaint is upheld.

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Does John Drinnan actually read what he writes?

John Drinnan is a fool.

His latest column mentions the decision b the Press Council to open up membership finally to online media.

This is interesting because in current proceedings before the Human Rights Review Tribunal I have?told I can’t be a journalist because i’m not a member of a voluntary regime like the Press Council, but the lawyer ignored the problem that until last week I couldn’t possibly join because their constitution wouldn’t allow it.

I also had to battle that premise int eh High Court, but fortunately Justice Asher saw through that attempt, not so you would know it from the perspective of the Human Rights Commission.

The idea of expanding the Press Council’s reach has been around for years and was given a boost after the Law Commission suggested digital media should join a combined media standards organisation, in return for receiving legal protections available to journalists. Then Justice Minister Judith Collins – a close friend of Slater – quashed that plan.

However the Press Council has since gone ahead with a scheme to represent digital media and blogs under its own steam, and that was unveiled this week.

But the ethics of bloggers and the media in general have come under deep scrutiny since Dirty Politics was published. Neville said it was clear in Press Council rules that publishers could not be paid for editorial.

“There is a grey area now with so-called native advertising, which is meant to be quality journalism which stacks up on its journalistic merits, even though it is sympathetic to one party.”

There were questions about whether the Press Council should have jurisdiction over native content, or if that should be covered by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Dirty Politics author Nicky Hager said the Press Council was getting into complex waters judging digital media on the basis of individuals rather than articles, and deciding whether they were journalism or not.

“My fear would be what could happen is that unscrupulous blogs could be given credibility but not end up with any accountability.

“Sometimes people are publishing public relations, and sometimes journalism,” he said.

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The collapse of the Herald, predicted in 2009 and slowly grinding on

After reading of poor Tim’s travels, I found this article by Michael Bassett from 2009 on the demise of the Herald. ? ?

It’s not the fact he openly outlines the failures, hints at Bernard Orsman interviewing his keyboard or making stuff up, he goes on to lay the blame at Tim Murphy’s feet for not acting to change either Orsman’s style or just moving him on. ?

Roll on 5 years, yawn, same story, same mistakes and poorly researched articles or just plain made up on the fly.

Maybe this article should be compulsory reading for the executive team and board, along with their latest KPI indicators and their total and advertising revenue, circulation and overhead costs, that would be an interesting exercise to benchmark over the last 10 years.

In case you hadn?t noticed it, the New Zealand Herald, the paper that used to claim to be the country?s premier paper of record, has abandoned this aspiration and seems intent on becoming a mere British-style tabloid. Its journalists are down to a skeleton of reporters; the sub editing (those who fit the headlines to the story below) seems to have fallen into the hands of deliberate troublemakers; and the editor, Tim Murphy, appears not to be in charge of what appears in his paper.?

You might think these are rather strong comments. They are. They describe a state of affairs that is poisoning too many relationships around Auckland, and causing the time of competent people to be wasted on countering deliberate falsehoods that appear in the Herald. Several key people in Auckland local government now refuse to talk to Bernard Orsman, the Herald’s so-called Auckland City Reporter, because he twists words given to him, fabricates stories, and seems determined not to report the news, but to try to create it.?

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