An RNZ audit set up in response to evidence news agency stories were inappropriately edited and published on its website, has concluded with corrections issued on 49 of the 1319 stories examined.
The audit began after inappropriate editing of several wire service stories relating to the Ukraine war was first raised with RNZ on June 9.
The audit found no evidence that the issue involved more than one staff member, who has resigned. An independent review commissioned by RNZ’s board is ongoing and expected to report back soon. The terms of reference were announced on 14 June.
The audit included both a range of stories edited by the former employee and a sample of material untouched by them. RNZ used external editing expertise to handle most of the work.
In each case, the text of the story published on RNZ.co.nz was compared with the text of the story or stories from the news agency used to generate RNZ’s article. Experienced external editors assessed any differences noted between the versions. These were used to help decide if a story required a correction under RNZ's Editorial Policy.
All the pieces corrected were world stories, with no issues found in relation to New Zealand or other subject matter. Of the 78 stories about the Ukraine war reviewed, 24 required a correction. The subject matter of other stories corrected breaks down as: Latin America, 10; Israel/Palestine, 4; China/Taiwan, 3; European politics 3; China and COVID, 2; Syria, 2; US politics, 1.
The inappropriate edits identified ranged from the addition of incorrect information to the removing of sentences or words that provided balance. The detail of how each story (listed below) was altered is outlined in a correction note at the foot of each page.
RNZ has made changes to its processes to ensure extra editing checks are in place.