The list below contains our recently published decisions, with the latest at the top.
An item during a Newstalk ZB news bulletin featured an interview with Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder. The newsreader introduced the item by saying, ‘Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder believes their loss to the Highlanders is the kick up the backside they need…’ The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the phrase ‘kick up the backside’ was rude, alluded to indecent assault and sexual abuse, and offended ‘community standards’. A ‘kick up the backside’ is a common, colloquial expression in New Zealand, meaning an unwelcome event or action that unexpectedly motivates or inspires. The expression would be well-known to listeners, who would not associate it with indecent or sexual assault. Therefore its use in this context did not threaten standards of good taste and decency.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
An item on ONE News Tonight reported on a pro-rail rally in Whangarei, which occurred in reaction to KiwiRail’s decision to discontinue part of the North Rail Link. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item was unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair. The item included a variety of significant viewpoints on KiwiRail’s decision, and it did not imply that the Government’s or KiwiRail’s views on the issue were more valid than other views. In the context of a brief news report, the pro-rail rally was accurately conveyed, and no individual or organisation was identified by the complainant as being treated unfairly.
Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Fairness
The Rock Morning Rumble included a stunt featuring the Prime Minister, in which he was invited to enter a cage installed in the studio and ‘pick up the soap’. Upon the Prime Minister doing so, the host quoted a recognised rape scene from the film Deliverance, saying, ‘You’ve got a pretty little mouth Prime Minister’. The Authority upheld a complaint that the stunt amounted to a deliberate reference to prison rape that had the effect of trivialising sexual violence and specifically prison rape. While the segment was allegedly intended to be humorous, which is an important aspect of the exercise of free speech, the stunt overstepped the boundaries of legitimate humour and was offensive. The Authority found that listeners and members of the public would likely have found the segment offensive and unacceptable, and that involving the Prime Minister had the potential to attract a wider audience. For the same reasons the Authority found the segment was not socially responsible. The Authority did not, however, uphold the complaint under the law and order standard.
Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Responsible Programming
Not Upheld: Law and Order
Orders: Section 13(1)(a) broadcast statement; section 16(4) costs to the Crown $1,000
The Breeze ran a competition in which listeners were invited to nominate an individual they felt to be deserving of a shopping spree. The programme hosts spoke to a woman (G) on air about her nomination of her friend (N), whom she described as just having left a ‘potentially abusive relationship’. The Authority upheld a complaint from N’s husband, LN, that the broadcast breached his privacy. The Authority found that LN was identifiable due to a combination of identifying features disclosed within the broadcast and readily accessible information outside of the broadcast. It considered the allegations of a potentially abusive relationship and other intimate details of the relationship were highly sensitive and personal, and clearly carried the quality of private information. The disclosure of such information would be highly offensive to an objective reasonable person.
Order: Section 13(1)(d) – privacy compensation to the complainant $1,000
An episode of Criminal Minds featured the murder of three restaurant workers during an armed robbery, prompting the FBI’s Behavioural Analysis Unit to re-open a similar cold case that occurred six years earlier. The episode contained violence and drug use. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the episode breached broadcasting standards relating to responsible programming, children’s interests and law and order. The Authority found that while the episode contained challenging content, it was classified AO and was preceded by an adequate warning. The programme’s classification, pre-broadcast warning and established reputation as a crime drama enabled viewers to make an informed viewing decision. The programme did not contain visual acts of violence, and the drug use was not portrayed in an instructional or encouraging manner and was part of the episode’s narrative context.
Not Upheld: Responsible Programming, Children’s Interests, Law and Order