Cox v Radio New Zealand (15/016)

Content: Robert Muldoon – ferocious, bizarre, legendary” first published 2.22pm, 12 December 2015
Publisher: Radio New Zealand
Complainant: J.Cox
Outcome: Settled
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The Complainant was concerned the content attacked former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon, was biased and did not make reference to a reasonable range of viewpoints.

The preliminary response from the Publisher said “the article is clearly opinion and not news and current affairs so neither the accuracy nor balance standards apply.” The Chairman noted the precedent Decision (15/013) which held opinion, in that instance, was news and current affairs and said the identification of opinion needed to be clear to readers.

The Chairman held the content related to the 40th anniversary of former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon being sworn in which otherwise, in his view, came under the definition of news and current affairs for the purposes of the OMSA Code of Standards and OMSA had jurisdiction to consider the complaint.

He noted the Publisher accepted the content should have been identified as opinion and an apology had been issued to the Complainant for the identification error.  The material had been amended to clearly reflect it was opinion on the website.

Noting the self-regulatory actions of the Publisher to amend the content and issue an apology, the Chairman considered it served no further purpose to place the matter before the OMSA Committee Members for consideration and ruled the matter was settled.

Date of Ruling: 17 December 2015