It is true that where there are major matters of public controversy, with both sides taking an entrenched view, the Press Council has held previously that it is not necessary in every case to provide balance, because of the long-running nature of the debate. However, we see this situation as somewhat different and we do not accept the editor’s statement that this was merely an article to promote the public meeting with Professor Connett.
The headline gives the lie to that, with the statement ‘Focus on Fluoride Fears’. The other issue we have with the article is that a large part of it consists of quotes from the convenor of Fluoride Free New Zealand Tauranga, Ms Livingston. To be blunt, it reads like a regurgitated press release. Many of the portions of the article that are not direct quotes are attributed to this person.