Monday, April 4, 2011

Price on Marshall - a sneaky journo from a NZ Sunday paper...

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Price on Marshall...

Lawyer Steven Price writes:

I have been contacted by a student at Victoria University who said he was approached by the Sunday Star-Times’ Jonathan Marshall at university last week, on the hunt for information about the 18-year-old at the centre of the Darren Hughes incident.

He said Marshall asked him to go to a university office and pretend to be a long-lost friend of the 18-year-old and ask for his class timetable. The student refused, saying this was a “morally bankrupt” thing to do, and good on him.

If true that would represent a new low in an already tarnished journalistic career. Marshall's style of tabloid journalism is the sort we associate with UK red-tops like The Sun. It's a style I don't particularly like.

Price continues:

I note the Press Council’s principle on subterfuge states:

The use of deceit and subterfuge can only be condoned in cases when the information sought is in the public interest and cannot be obtained by any other means.

I don’t think there can be much doubt that Marshall was trying to use deceit and subterfuge here, even if he was enlisting someone else to do the actual dirty work. Was it, then, really in the public interest? And mightn’t there be other ways of getting this information?

Price also reports that Marshall has denied engaging in any such activity, and that Marshall's editor is backing him up to the hilt. So whose version of events is true?

And why is the SST editor so confident there has been no wrongdoing? Has he spoken to the person who made the allegation?

Or is he just reflexively protecting his prized asset? Just as he weekly defends Michael Laws for writing indefensible hate-filled dross because it helps to sell papers?

True or false? Not surprising some would suggest.

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