Taylor v Radio New Zealand (15/007)

Content: “Family First slams free contraceptive idea.”

Publisher: Radio New Zealand, Website

Complainant: M. Taylor

Outcome: No Grounds to Proceed

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Chairman’s Ruling: The Complainant argued the Radio New Zealand article about offering free contraception to teenagers was not balanced. The Complainant took particular issue with the statement by the National Director of Family First, Bob McCoskrie, which stated, in part: “free contraception was not the answer because it would lead to early sexual activity, which was not healthy.”

Radio New Zealand was of the view ‘free contraception for teenagers’ was not a controversial issue, but acknowledged the article presented a particular perspective, which was balanced by a link to an earlier news story which was an alternative perspective.

The Chairman held the statement on which the Complainant based their concerns was framed as the opinion of an individual from an organisation, who held an oppositional view to the proposal, and most readers would read the article and comment in that context.

When considered in its entirety, taking into account the headline, body and related content, the Chairman said the article was not representing only one viewpoint. He said the article reported the reaction from the Family First Organisation to the proposal.  The Chairman said the article had made due reference to an alternative viewpoint both through structure of the article and via the “related content” links at the bottom of the article.

The Chairman said the content did not reach the threshold to be considered in breach of Standard 2 Balance of the Code of Standards and ruled  there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

Chairman’s Ruling: No Grounds to Proceed

Date of Ruling: 22 July 2015