Easton v Radio New Zealand (14/013)

Content: Radio New Zealand Website

Publisher: Radio New Zealand

Outcome: No Grounds to Proceed

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The Chairman viewed a copy of the content, the complaint and the preliminary comments from Radio New Zealand.

The Chairman noted the concerns of the Complainant that a statement in the article that said “When cross-examining an expert engineer today, he suggested that bus lanes should be painted blue instead of green, which he said could look like grass to runners and children”, was wrong.

The Chairman noted that as part of his complaint, Mr Easton stated: “As I recall I did not provide a solution. I proposed as will be clear in my submissions that lane colour may be a remedy to pedestrian bus confusion –as well as the colour of green being a poor colour choice using said examples.” The Chairman accepted that Mr Easton considered the article did not accurately reflect his statements during the inquest. However, taking into account the response from Radio New Zealand, the Chairman was of the view the colour of the bus lanes formed part of the inquest proceedings and the reference to the colour blue was illustrative of the point that an alternate colour to green could be considered.
The Chairman said this part of the complaint did not meet the threshold to breach Standard 1, Accuracy or Standard 3, Fairness. The Chairman noted points made by Mr Easton in his complaint about whether or not the Green family remained in Court during his questioning and that he had not been asked for his comment by Radio New Zealand prior to the publication of the article. The Chairman said neither of these matters raised issues under Standards 1 and 3. The Chairman confirmed that the article was a summary of proceedings during an inquest by Radio New Zealand’s Court Reporter. The Chairman considered the article reflected matters that occurred during the hearing and he ruled the issues raised in the complaint before him did not present an arguable breach of the Code of Standards and there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

Chairman’s Ruling: No Grounds to Proceed

Date of Decision: 15 December 2014