BSA rules against man accused of denying Holocaust

Far-right conservative Kerry Bolton says he is disappointed a complaint about a Radio New Zealand programme accusing him of being a Holocaust denier has not been upheld by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA).

The segment called Ideas on Sunday with Chris Laidlaw, aired in May 2009, featured an interview with sociologist Scott Hamilton about anti-Semitic fringe groups in New Zealand that were denying or downplaying the gravity of the Holocaust.

Dr Hamilton said Dr Bolton was a "key figure" among hardcore Holocaust deniers who were active in New Zealand.

He said Dr Bolton had close connections with Australian Frederick Toben who had recently been jailed for his views.

Dr Bolton would also go to demonstrations against Israel's involvement in Palestine "and he'll present himself as a legitimate critic of Israel foreign policy and he'll slide from that to anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial", Dr Hamilton said.

Young people may have been "taken in by this stuff", he added.

Dr Hamilton also accused Dr Bolton of creating the theory that Europeans were the first to colonise New Zealand before Maori "invaders" wiped them out.

Dr Bolton complained to the BSA about the piece and said statements made by Dr Hamilton were inaccurate.

His objections included denying he had worked closely with Toben, that he was the inventor of the Celtic New Zealand theory or he had any influence over "unwary youth".

Radio NZ argued statements made by Dr Hamilton were his expert opinion to which the standard of accuracy did not apply.

It pointed to Dr Bolton being listed as the New Zealand Associate to the organisation run by Toben as well as a number of articles connecting Dr Bolton to Holocaust denial.

Dr Hamilton provided an article called Kerry Bolton: The Man, The Myth, The Manmyth, that contained a quote attributed to Dr Bolton calling the Holocaust "fictitious blather".

Dr Hamilton also identified articles written by Dr Bolton about the claim Europeans were the first to colonise New Zealand that pre-dated any other publication about the theory.

Young people were probably influenced by Dr Bolton's views because of his position of leadership in organisations such as the National Front, which had a large youth membership, Dr Hamilton said.

In reply, Dr Bolton said he had not been in Australia for 20 years, so could not have worked closely with Toben. He also had not heard of the European colonisation theory until 2003, so could not have invented the idea, he said.

He also denied infiltrating numerous anti-war demonstrations to air his views.

The BSA originally upheld Dr Bolton's complaint, but Radio NZ appealed the decision to the High Court, which referred the complaint back to the BSA for further consideration.

After receiving further submissions from both Radio NZ and Dr Bolton, the BSA reversed its decision and denied the complaint.

The BSA said that through his own writings, Dr Bolton was shown to be a Holocaust denier.

In a majority decision, the panel said it was clear that as an expert in the subject, Dr Hamilton was giving his opinion as well as presenting facts about the subject.

If the panel had upheld the complaint it would have placed "an unreasonable limit on the broadcaster's right to freedom of expression...".

Dr Bolton today told NZPA his reaction to the decision was "not exactly positive".

"The programme was comprised entirely of lies and they've upheld lies as fair comment basically, as reasonable comment and expert opinion."

Dr Bolton said he would not describe himself as a Holocaust denier, "but I simply don't know how it happened -- to what extent it happened".

 

 

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