The article - published on July 12 - reported poison dumped in a Stewart Island swamp by a Department of Conservation contractor had the potential to kill hundreds of animals.
Simon Fraser, who complained about the article, said there were no known incidents of kiwi deaths from 1080. It was also wrong to say 1080 kills everything. It was highly selective, killing mainly mammals.
The article was also wrong when it stated that 1080 was eaten by insects and travels up the food chain. Insects had not been shown to be a vector in this way. When dumped in water 1080 breaks down swiftly, so implying that it was a massive risk to native animals was misleading.
The Media Council said it did not have the mandate or expertise to act as a referee on the long-running arguments relating to the use of 1080. Its decision was confined solely to issues of journalism.
MediaWorks did not mount an effective argument on the grounds of accuracy. While it accepted there may be no known kiwi deaths from 1080, the article clearly indicated the 1080 dump was a threat and this was reinforced by reference to a dead kiwi found 10 kilometres from the dump site.
MediaWorks also said its reporter sought expert opinion from an ecologist and two toxicologists. However, their views were not reported and no information was given to the Media Council to support its contention that the article “accurately characterised the threat 1080 poses to kiwi.”
The Media Council also upheld the complaint that the article lacked balance as it did not provide an opportunity for qualified scientists to refute the clearly contentious claim that 1080 will kill everything including kiwi.
Click here to see the full decision: http://www.mediacouncil.org.nz/rulings/simon-fraser-against-newshub-mediaworks