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The original story that was removed
The original story that was removed


Jewellery World removes fair report from website

Industry magazine Jewellery World has removed a report from its website after complaints it was unfair and unbalanced.

A report on two New Zealand jewellery fairs both held over the last weekend of September, was removed from Jewellery World's website after Expertise Events managing director Gary Fitz-Roy – organiser of one of the fairs – complained about “Injurious Falsehood” concerning his event.
Entitled “Fair Fight in New Zealand”, the report was intended to compare the results of the New Zealand Jewellery Fair (NZJF), organised by Expertise Events, and the Jewellers and Watchmakers of New Zealand fair.
The story’s author, Jewellery World's publisher John Abolins, painted the inaugural NZJF in a negative light without interviewing key players involved, according to Fitz-Roy, who demanded the story be removed from the JW website when he saw it.
Abolins attended only the Jewellers and Watchmakers of New Zealand fair (JWNZ), yet his story stated that the Expertise-run event “had a very quiet opening day on the Saturday with very few retailers attending and even fewer buying while, in contrast, the JWNZ trade fair opened on the Sunday with a rush of buyers eager to view the home-grown exhibition which was loyally supported by many of New Zealand’s leading suppliers”.
Abolins went on to report that NZ retailers “showed their loyalty to the JWNZ fair with their feet and their wallets – if a company was exhibiting at both venues, retailers were happy to view the range at the Expertise Events Fair but insisted on doing their buying at the JWNZ fair.”
As the declarations were made without supporting quotes, Fitz-Roy, who wasn’t offered comment, believed the report failed to be fair and balanced. Additionally, one person quoted in the story promptly denounced his comments following publication – a representative of the Australian company PW Beck was quoted as saying the Expertise Events fair “lacked atmosphere” and had “fewer buyers”, something he dismissed as being inaccurate when contacted by Expertise Events.
On October 21, Fitz-Roy wrote to Abolins saying he had contacted the PWB representative to find that PWB was “happy with business written at the Expertise Events Fair on the Saturday” and that “both fairs contributed equal amount of business”.
Having confirmed that the report was not accurate, Fitz-Roy was incensed that the news report would conclude with an author’s opinion: “It seems the JWNZ Trade Fair was the clear winner for exhibitors and visitors alike”.
His email to Abolins added, “News reporting should be balanced and dispassionate. A journalist should report the facts impartially.”
Fitz-Roy then wrote to Jewellery World's managing director Simon Grover demanding that the story be removed from the website; “To be clear, I do not shy away from criticism so long as it is done fairly and without malice,” Fitz-Roy said in his email to Grover. “I think that you should attend to this as a matter of urgency so that we do not have to go down the road of Injurious Falsehood. Please confirm that you will take the necessary and urgent actions outlined to mitigate the damage done to Expertise Events.”

Injurious falsehood is defined by the law as a fallacious statement that causes intentional damage to an individual’s commercial or economic relations.

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Grover’s return email stated, “I will look into this and respond formally by COB tomorrow,” but Fitz-Roy urged him to remove the story stating, “every hour this ‘story’ appears online the more damage it does”.

Grover responded, “I have taken the story down until my investigation on the matter has taken place. I will advise you tomorrow COB of our intention to re-instate it or not”.
It appears that after Grover’s investigation he concluded that there was a serious issue to deal with because, “We are going to revise various parts of the editorial piece and post it online later today. It will also run in the next issue of the magazine,” he wrote.
Grover also asked if Fitz-Roy would provide a counter-balance to the revised piece and Fitz-Roy’s comments were included in the revised story – republished on the website, not the next day but on November 6, over two weeks later.
Previous comments made by the PWB representative were completely removed from the revised story, which further begs the question as to whether the quotes were accurate.
Jeweller contacted Jewellery World's editor, Jenny Berich, to confirm that the story had been removed from the website because of Fitz-Roy’s complaints. Berich was also asked if she believed the original story was one-sided and if not, then why there was a need to remove it from the website?
Jeweller also sought clarification why the comments from PWB representative were removed from the re-written story.
Berich referred the matter to Abolins and Grover. Abolins’ email reply to Grover was to “ignore” the questions from Jeweller but Grover replied that he was too busy to investigate.
Fitz-Roy says that he was happy the revised story was now balanced and reiterated that he does not shy away from criticism, “but it’s not the role of an industry magazine to take sides, it’s job is to report fairly and accurately,” he said.
Asked about his legal threat of injurious falsehood, he said, “That’s a very serious road to go down – I am not in the business of suing people – but it should be remembered that this is not the first time I have had to deal with something like this. In 2006 Jewellery World published anonymous criticisms of the Sydney trade fair even before the event took place.”
He said there had been another issue when, in late 2006, John Abolins announced the launch of a new fair, Jewellery World Show 2007, in competition with the Expertise Sydney Fair. At the time he briefed a barrister to write to Abolins about some of the claims he was making about his proposed new fair. That matter was resolved out of court.
The Jewellery World Show never eventuated.
Both the NZJF and JWNZ fairs are scheduled to take place over the same weekend again in September 2010.

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