Media Council findings against Stuff

During the past year….

May 2021
The Media Council found an article about tattoo studio Tattoo Gold unfair, unbalanced and inaccurate.

These matters have led to inaccuracy and unfairness to Tattoo Gold. If its comment had been fairly obtained, a significantly different article, or no article at all might have followed.

April 2021
The Media Council found an article about Canoe Racing New Zealand Inc. (CRNZ), Lisa Carrington, and Kayla Imrie unfair, unbalanced and failed to get comment from people that should have been contacted.

…the Media Council finds that aspects of the reporting significantly lacked balance and were unfair. There was a particular failure by Stuff to seek out and obtain and express the views of the team members that had a favourable view of the actions of CRNZ. Further, certain particular factual assertions of serious import against two coaches should have been put to them with an opportunity for them to comment. Lisa Carrington should have been contacted and asked to comment on statements about her role.

April 2021

This didn’t get all the way to the Media Council. But Stuff had to admit….

The stories suggested Hutt City Mayor Campbell Barry’s purchase of a residence in the Upper Fitzherbert area in North Wainuiomata was improper. In particular, the stories suggested Mayor​ Barry used information not publicly available to inform his decision to purchase the residence and that he may have misled the public in relation to the level of his knowledge of the proposed future development of that area. The stories also suggested that Mayor​ Barry had substantial involvement in council decisions about the proposed development. We accept those allegations were unfounded.

The stories also stated Hutt City Chief Executive Jo Miller shelved a development proposal in North Wainuiomata. We also acknowledge that Ms​ Miller was not responsible for shelving the North Wainuiomata development proposal.

October 2020
The Media Council found an article about the New Zealand Defence Force as potentially misleading and unfair.

…The key facts should have been set out earlier in the story. The headline also added to the misleading impression given by the story

..The story’s flaws were compounded by the use of the word “clueless”. The Media Council believes “clueless” means more than just lacking knowledge about something, as claimed by Stuff. The NZ Oxford Dictionary defines “clueless” as meaning stupid or ignorant. The use of this word was unfair to the NZDF, as they could not have been expected to know the exact source of the virus.

…The combination of the unreasonable use of the word “clueless” and the way the story was constructed, with key facts only revealed well down the story, meant it had the potential to be misleading and was unfair to the NZDF.

June 2020
The Media Council found an article about “New Zealanders ‘caught short after masks sent to China” as inaccurate, and even gave a rebuke to the integrity of the reporter. 

…the article is inaccurate. There is a serious error about the timing of Eden Venture’s exports. The article says that the materials were sent to China in “early March” (when Covid-19 was in New Zealand), rather than stating the true position, which was that the exports were in January and February, when Covid-19 was not in New Zealand but was raging in parts of China. Moreover, it appears this was known to the reporter (!!), and even when evidence of this was provided by Mr Wang in his complaint there was no correction.

…the heading to the article and reporting within it creates a false implication

…there is the wrongful implication that Eden Ventures was a proxy for the Chinese Communist Party

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