More complainants

March 25th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A Sonja Lawson complained to The Press Council:

Miss Lawson phoned a complaint to the editor of Taranaki Daily News, followed up by a letter, alleging factually incorrect and misleading information relating to the ‘abusive faxes’ column comment. She followed this up over a month later with a further letter complaining about both articles. 

She complained that no response had been received to her multiple calls, faxes and now letters to her claims that the articles are inaccurate, unfair and unbalanced; that her privacy had been breached as she had name suppression; that the headlines were inaccurate and misleading; that the paper had used subterfuge and had refused to correct errors. She demanded retraction and apologies in a prominent place in the paper. 

Very ironic that she is guilty of sending offensive communications, and when the paper reports this, she starts sending them numerous communications.

The editor of Taranaki Daily News responded to the Council that the published articles had been taken from a Court of Appeal decision and a hearing in the Hawera District Court, and he was unaware of any inaccuracy. Furthermore no suppression order was in place regarding Miss Lawson. …

Miss Lawson does not have name suppression (the Court of Appeal judgment is available online) and the newspaper had a right to report each case.

I’m amazed this case even went to a full hearing of the Press Council. Her allegations of name suppression are a figment of her imagination and I thought that would be enough to make her complaint invalid.

Also in terms of dopey complaints, we have an H Malcolm who complained to the ASA over this Tui billboard:

“Mine’s a Footlong

Just like Subway’s                                          Yeah Right”

The delicate complainant said:

“I believe this billboard breaches public decency by the inference to male genitalia and is unsuitable for public viewing.”

Oh dear.

Some BSA complaints

February 5th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

A few amusing or not so amusing complaints to the BSA. First James Burford complains about this on Paul Homes show on Newstalk ZB:

Based on some of the conversations we have had over the last 40 minutes… when we talked about [name] becoming the editor of the Truth, we have had a text which says, “[name] running a publication called the Truth is a bit like making a pre-op tranny editor of the Woman’s Weekly”.

Heh, that’s really funny. I suspect Cam would find it great also. So what was complained about?

James Burford made a formal complaint to The Radio Network Ltd (TRN), the broadcaster, alleging that the use of the phrase “pre-op tranny” was pejorative and “perpetuates bigotry and hatred against transgender communities”. He considered that the host’s behaviour, in reading out the text message, was ignorant and offensive.

Oh, Good God. It was a jibe at Cam, not pre-op trannies.

TRN upheld the complaint under Standard 7 (discrimination and denigration). It said that the use of the word “tranny” was “common in some quarters” and that the text message was intended to be humorous. However, it agreed that the host’s use of the term was unnecessary in context and potentially offensive to the transgender community. Having upheld the complaint, the broadcaster said that the host had been counselled on the matter.

The host would not have been Paul – either Kerre or Wendl probably. Wonder who got their hand smacked?

We also have the complaint from serial complainer Allan Golden who having claimed the moon landings were faked, now says NZ cheats more at sports than Belarus and Jamacia. I think it is about time any complaints from him go straight into the round cabinet.

Wayne Lowry complains that a promo for Coronation Street during Breakfast TV showed a woman slapping a man in the face. The horrors.

And Richard McKay (hopefully not this one) complaints that TV3 called Stewart Murray Wilson the Beat of Blenheim saying “purposefully designed to cause hurt, injury and harm to Mr Wilson (and his kind)”.  Are his kind rapists? No they are all innocent victims it seems.

He referred to all other prisoners “as victims of both media and the public”.

Maybe it is the same Richard McKay?

Mr McKay was concerned that the items showed disregard for Mr Wilson’s human rights in breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. He argued that, “The grooming of the public by TV3 against Mr Wilson (in collaboration and union with other broadcasters who hold to the same practices and ideology of separatism, hatred and contemptuous superiority) is a crime in New Zealand”.

No, rape is a real crime.

These nutty complaints are a good example of why I am nervous about any prospect of a Communications Tribunal for online publishers. I can just see a legion of nutters and malcontents doing daily complaints.

Lunatic complaint of the week

November 22nd, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Houston, we have a winner.


The column published on September 1, 2012 discussed the impact of US astronaut Neil Armstrong’s moon landing and compared his achievements to those of cyclist Lance Armstrong, who had been stripped of his awards that same week because of drug cheating. 

Mr Golden said the column was untrue because the moon landings did not happen and it was improper for The Dominion Post to suggest otherwise. He claimed that the columnist and The Dominion Post editor knew the moon landings were a fiction and they were propagating “false propaganda”. 

He said the column breached six Press Council principles, including accuracy, fairness and balance. He also cited principles covering children, discrimination, subterfuge, conflicts of interest and corrections.

Oh dear God. This complaint must have had the Press Council and the Dom Post staff in hysterics. Sadly they have to treat it is as a valid complaint. I’d be tempted to just ask the complainant for proof the moon landings were faked, but I suspect he would have then never stopped corresponding.

It is widely accepted that Neil Armstrong did land on the moon and The Dominion Post’s column is reflecting many reports over many years that have assumed the moon landings to be fact. Mr Golden believes the reports to be propaganda and The Dominion Post a willing vehicle for that propaganda. 

The difficulty for the Press Council is Mr Golden has not supplied any evidence to convince it that the moon landings did not happen – except his own opinion.

I don’t think the fact of the moon landings really is an assumption.

Press Council members considering this complaint were Barry Paterson, Tim Beaglehole, Pip Bruce Ferguson, Kate Coughlan, Chris Darlow, Sandy Gill, Penny Harding, Keith Lees, John Roughan and Stephen Stewart.

That’s five minutes of their lives they’ll never get back.

Mr Allan Golden appears to be a serial complainer. I’ve found three other Press Council complaints and a BSA complaint. The BSA complaint was about a TVNZ news item that referred to the price of gold in US dollars rather than NZ dollars! Another BSA complaint from him is here. Of and a Press Council complaint here alleging a Fairfax conspiracy.

Complaint of the Week

October 30th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Already had some good idiotic complaints come in to me. This week’s winner is about a Lotto Ad.

The background:

The television advertisement for Lotto promoted the $27 Million dollar draw and featured a woman sitting in a café. When she realised her table was wobbling, she pulled out a wad of notes from her bag and put it under one of the table legs to stabilise it. 

The complaint:

Complainant, H. Malhotra, said: putting the money under the leg of the table was “very, very disrespectful and insensitive towards people not only on the poverty line but some cultures like Hindu’s, as we do not touch money with our feet as it is always so hard to earn.” The Complainant also said that the advertisement sent a “bad” message to younger people about the value of money

The lack of both a sense of humour, and also the appreciation of the context of someone having just won $27 million is staggering.

The sad thing with this stuff, is that it ends up taking up time – both the ASA’s, but often organisations complained about have to send hours or hire lawyers to deal with such stupidities.