Nicholls v MediaWorks (15/010)

Content: “Scouts and their image problem.” Published 8:01am Wednesday 16 September, 2015

Publisher: MediaWorks, SCOUT Website (

Complainant: H. Nicholls

Outcome: Not Upheld

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The content subject to complaint appeared on the SCOUT website ( and was titled: “Scouts and their image problem.” The article referred to Scouts New Zealand stating: “Scouts NZ has their neckerchief in a bunch over SCOUT using the word Scout” and went on to reference the Boy Scouts of America facing ‘image issues’ over “anti-gay discrimination”, a “loss of sponsors and celebrity mates” and encouraging “a ban on women.”

The Complainant raised concerns about the accuracy of the article as it did not relate to Scouts New Zealand in any way and gave “the impression that the items covered in the article are about New Zealand Scouting when they have no bearing.”

The Complaints Committee said the article made a clear delineation between the concerns of Scouts New Zealand and the ‘image problem’ of the Boy Scouts of America. The Committee said the article was unlikely to mislead readers into thinking Scouts New Zealand were involved in ‘anti-gay discrimination’, a ‘loss of sponsors and celebrity mates’ or encouraged ‘a ban on women’ as suggested by the Complainant.

The Complaints Committee said the content was accurate, did not mislead in relation to any material points of fact and clearly identified the separate bodies in the substance of the content. The Complaints Committee ruled the content was not in breach of Standard 1 Accuracy or Guidelines 1a and 1b of the OMSA Code of Standards and ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.

Outcome: Not Upheld

Date of Ruling: 8 October 2015