Press Council complaints

February 24th, 2012 at 2:54 pm by David Farrar

Whale Oil has blogged on an interesting case:

Todd McDonald aka The Jackal has been told to sling his hook by the Press Council because he won’t reveal who he is. He complained last year about the NBR and the Otago Daily Times.

It is of course not proven that Todd is The Jackal, but Whale lays out a pretty convincing case. The ruling is what interests me:

Requests from the Press Council for an address; phone number; driver licence details or car registration (Mr McDonald said he was homeless and lived in a car) were all refused.

Amazing how good his Internet connection is for someone who lives in a car and is homeless.

The Press Council determined not to rule on Mr McDonald’s complaints. They reasoned that they should not rule on a complaint where the complainant had not provided any detail as to their bona fides.

If a newspaper were to publish material or a letter to the editor under the same circumstances (without establishing, or having the means to establish, the credentials of the commenter/letter-writer) the Press Council might very well say the newspaper was at fault. The same principle applied. If the Council accepted the complaint it was lowering its standards to a level it wouldn’t want a newspaper to practice.

I absolutely agree that the Press Council should only accept complaints from people who are prepared to verify themselves. There are enough trolls out there who abuse the Press Council and BSA complaints system, without adding to it by allowing people to file complaints from effective anonymity (such as providing a name and no contact details).

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8 Responses to “Press Council complaints”

  1. La Grand Fromage (145 comments) says:

    We should all chip in for a hooker and get this guy laid.

    Lack of female company can be the only reason for this guys complete and utter cockhead behavior.

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  2. Put it away (2,878 comments) says:

    The same Todd who was ranting incoherently about brains for hundreds of comments on here a while back? Evidently he still needs to find one.

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  3. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    With moderately cheap mobile broadband and a 12 volt laptop adaptor it is quite feasible to live in a car and have moderately good internet service, admittedly not as good as Stephen Fry is accustomed to.

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  4. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    Probably uses Phil U’s connection at the library.

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  5. insider (1,028 comments) says:

    He must have an address for service; what about all those defamation suits he keeps launching? and where do his OIAs and rejections of his complaints to the ombudsman get posted to? :-)

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  6. V (719 comments) says:

    I’m not so sure – the judgement should relate to the nature of the complaint, not who is doing the complaining.

    The fact that the BSA/Press Council needs an identity is more to do with the fact the review proceedure is probably needlessly bloated and inefficient. If the process had a clear way to dispose of frivolous complaints early on it wouldn’t matter whether the person complaining gave an identity or not.

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  7. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    its all this modern technology that allows him to be so well connected.

    Everone says we need to be better connected – and when one does do that (as in this case) everone complains because hes not doing it in the normal fashion.
    I think hes smarter than everyone thinks

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  8. Mark (496 comments) says:

    Well colour me suprised a leftie and a liar.

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