The Australian Press Council has considered a complaint by J A Rovensky that The Advertiser, Adelaide, has not provided balanced coverage of debate about the effects of wind farms, including possible damage to health.
Ms Rovensky’s complaint focused on what she saw as inadequate coverage of the views of rural people, of a Senate report highlighting the need for further research into health issues, and of the State Government’s removal of most rights of appeal against relevant planning decisions. She said a number of people had written to the newspaper about adverse impacts of wind farms but they had not been published.
The newspaper said it had provided considerable coverage of concerns about wind farms, including in letters to the editor, quotes from opponents and a major feature article in its weekend magazine in May 2011. It said that the letter which Ms Rovensky has submitted was far too long for publication. The newspaper agreed that the few sentences devoted to the Senate report could well have been expanded.
The Press Council shared the concerns about the limited attention given to the Senate report and the removal of appeal rights. However, having examined the extensive coverage submitted by the newspaper and Ms Rovensky it concluded that the complaint relating to lack of balance should not be upheld.
Note (not required for publication by the newspaper):
This adjudication applies the Council’s General Principle 1: “Publications should take reasonable steps to ensure reports are accurate, fair and balanced. They should not deliberately mislead or misinform readers either by omission or commission.”