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Posts Tagged ‘ROSE STIRLING’

NZ Police Interfere with News Coverage

Posted by te2ataria on November 20, 2009

Freedom of Press? My Foot!

Corrupt New Zealand police caught interfering with news coverage, AGAIN!

Yesterday this blog posted details of a severed head and torso discovery by two Australian tourists in Northland:

“Local camp ground operator Geoff Nicols says a pair of Australian tourists were shocked to spot a head poking up out of the sand and asked to use his phone to call police.” A report said.

The story, reported by ROSE STIRLING of Dargaville News, clearly quoted eye witness  Geoff Nicols as saying, “Australian tourists were shocked to spot a head poking up out of the sand…”

Two points about the statement:

First, there’s no mention of a skull poking up out of sand. Most adult Australian would know the difference.

Second, this blogger has never met or heard of anyone, especially the Aussies,  being shocked by the discovery of a skull on a beach.

The original headline seemed perfectly adequate. Not least because it was factual:

“Head, torso found on Northland beach”


Here’s a screen shot of  a google search saved on November 20, 2009 at about 1:40GMT

However, the police, which seems to have decided that the headlines were bad for business, apparently forced the reporter(s) to change the headlines and certain parts of their story to make it sound as if the discovery of a severed head and dismembered torso was actually something completely different. The new Stuff NZ headline read:

Skull found on Northland beach

[Note: The new version was not a regular update, but the reporter was made to re-write the story and then it was posted under the same URL: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/3079423/Head-torso-found-on-Northland-beach. As of posting, the original version was no longer available from Stuff NZ website.]

NZ Herald echoed much of the same:

‘Very old’ skull found on Northland beach

A “very old” human skull has been found on a beach south of Dargaville.

Police spokeswoman Sarah Kennett said the skull is being referred to a pathologist to find out when the person died.

She said the skull was found in the sand dunes in Glinks Gully, Te Kopuru, Northland.

Asked if it could be a skull from pre-European colonisation, Ms Kennett said she could not say. [Amazing!]

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10610331

As luck had it…

The two Australian tourists, Louisa and Michael Ergles, who discovered the severed head, read the new, amended headlines and apparently contacted the [advertising] media.

Mr Ergles who is a search and rescue officer in his hometown of Lajamanu in the Northern Territory, Australia, said, “there was still a bit of flesh on the head when we found it.”

“I don’t think it would have been there longer than a year.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/3081933/Dargaville-skull-not-that-old-tourists

[Note: All mentions of the ‘torso’ have also been removed from the new versions of the story. ]

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