Loder v Radio New Zealand (15/013)

Content: “What is going on with trigger happy America. That is the Question.”

Publisher: Radio New Zealand

Complainant: M. Loder

Outcome: Settled, in part / Not Upheld, in part 

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The content subject to complaint was titled “What is going on with trigger happy America. That is the Question” and appeared on the Radio New Zealand news website.  It was written by Toby Manhire and Toby Morris and included narrative and graphic illustrations about the availability of guns and shootings in the United States of America.

The Complainant said the item had been presented as news, contained errors of fact and lacked balance.

Radio New Zealand confirmed the item was a satirical opinion piece and the Standards for accuracy and balance did not apply.

As a preliminary matter, the Complaints Committee confirmed the item was covered by OMSA’s jurisdiction.  In relation to the identification of the item, the Committee agreed to settle this part of the complaint as Radio New Zealand had acknowledged the item should have been labelled ‘opinion’ and this change had been made.  The Committee agreed that as the item was opinion, the Standards for Accuracy and Balance did not apply and the matter relating to identification had been addressed by the labelling and classification changes.

The Complaints Committee ruled the issues about identification of the item were settled under Standard 5 and Guideline 5c. It also ruled the item was not in breach of Standard 1, Guideline 1a or Standard 2 of the OMSA Code of Standards and said that part of the complaint was Not Upheld.

Ruling Date: 9 November 2015