Toxin Avenger – SST on the money

May 28, 2008

A very good story in the Sunday Star Times last weekend (25 May) about the trials and tribulations endured by TV3 investigative reporter Melanie Reid in her battle to defend a documentary she made in 2006 about dioxin pollution in Paritutu, near New Plymouth.

Adam Dudding’s feature laid out Reid’s fight with the Ministry of Health and the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR). The government agencies claimed that Reid’s story was unbalanced, based on “bad” science, was misleadingly edited and used theme music designed to influence viewers (I’m not kidding about this). The Ministry and the ESR complained to the Broadcasting Standards Authority on the grounds of balance, accuracy and bias. It’s a salutory example of regulatory difficulties in the area of balance and bias. How can the BSA board rule effectively on such a complex case that rests on contradictory scientific claim and counter-claim? Read the rest of this entry »