Ook de media hebben boter op hun hoofd als het gaat om misinformatie over roken. Het goede journalistiek principe van hoor en wederhoor wordt vaak door de grote persbureaus wel gehanteerd, maar wordt door de secundaire media, die hun berichten weer van de persbureaus plukken, naar eigen goeddunken gecensureerd.
Dat gebeurde in ieder geval overduidelijk met een bericht dat werd gepubliceerd door Yahoo News. In dat bericht werd verhaald over de koerier UPS die aangeeft geen internet tabak meer te willen vervoeren. In het bericht werd (door Associated Press) oorspronkelijk ook gewag gemaakt van de kritiek van Audrey Silk, burgemeesterskandidaat voor New York en oprichter van NYCCLASH. In het Yahoo artikel is deze paragraaf plotseling verdwenen…
In rood de door Yahoo weggecensureerde tekst:
ALBANY, N.Y. – The world’s largest shipping carrier, UPS Inc., will stop delivering cigarettes to individuals in the United States under an agreement announced Monday with state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
The agreement is the latest in federal and state efforts to combat the sale of under-taxed cigarette and to fight underage smoking. Most under-taxed or untaxed cigarettes are sold by Indian tribes, where the taxation of sales to non-Indians is disputed.
Monday’s agreement leaves only the U.S. Postal Service among major carriers to continue to deliver cigarettes to individuals, Spitzer said. He called that practice “an embarrassment.”
Despite a new policy adopted by the Postal Service in September to refuse delivery of illegal products, the federal service allows employees to accept packages suspected of containing under-taxed cigarettes, Spitzer said.
“Internet cigarette traffickers are increasingly using the federal mail system to distribute their wares,” Spitzer said. He said the Postal Service “clearly” has the authority to refuse to deliver cigarettes to individual smokers. “It is an embarrassment that major private companies have stopped carrying contraband cigarettes, but the federal government continues to accept them,” said Spitzer, a Democrat running for governor. “Congress needs to step in and stop this practice immediately.”
The Postal Service can’t stop delivery even if it suspects a package clearly marked as coming from a retailer contains untaxed cigarettes, said Postal Service spokesman Gerry McKiernan.
“There could be souvenirs in the package. We don’t know because we can’t see inside the package,” he said.
Instead, the Postal Service will watch for packages if advised by law enforcement agencies. They also will alert law enforcement agencies when the service is shipping those packages, he said.
“It’s up to law enforcement agencies to enforce the law,” McKiernan said.
He said private companies have contracts with firms that regularly use their services which identifies materials being shipped. The Postal Service doesn’t.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s illegal,” said Audrey Silk of New York City Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment and a Libertarian Party candidate for New York City mayor. “They are exploiting children … when you employ `for the children’ you can get the public to do anything.”
Earlier this year, DHL banned cigarette deliveries to individuals nationwide and the nation’s largest credit card companies stopped processing payments for cigarette sales.
Spitzer said Internet and mail-order cigarette retailers violate federal, state and local laws governing taxes and underage smoking. Sales to minors also violate federal wire fraud and mail fraud laws, he said.
The agreement with Spitzer matches a nationwide policy at UPS aimed at avoiding the difficulty of complying with a “patchwork” of different state laws enacted in 28 states since 2003, said Steve Holmes, spokesman for the global company based in Atlanta. He said he had no estimate of how much business would be lost.
“Regardless of that issue, we believe it’s a prudent business decision and we want to do what’s right, of course, by the laws, but we want to do right by our customers and we want to do right by our communities as well,” he said.
States lose more than $1 billion a year in tax revenue from Internet tobacco sales, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Enforcement, however, has been difficult, even though in many states, including New York, the Internet sale of tobacco products is illegal.