The list below contains our recently published decisions, with the latest at the top.
A 3 News item reported on the Labour Party’s election year conference, including details of the party’s education policy. The reporter referred to David Cunliffe ‘handing out an election year bribe’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that this was unfair. Political parties should expect their policies will be subject to commentary and scrutiny, particularly leading up to a general election, and it is not uncommon to refer to election ‘bribes’ in political reporting.
Not Upheld: Fairness
Seven Sharp reported on the Russian government banning adoptions of its orphans by New Zealand couples, because of New Zealand’s marriage equality legislation. The reporter referred to Vladimir Putin as ‘homophobic’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that this was inaccurate and misleading. The comment was clearly analysis and commentary by the reporter, rather than a material point of fact, so it was not subject to standards of accuracy.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
An episode of Seven Sharp included a short round-up of things that had recently ‘caught the attention’ of the presenters, including cheese ‘made of milk with human toe jam and belly button bacteria’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that this was offensive and breached standards of good taste and decency. While some viewers would have found the subject matter unpleasant and distasteful, it did not threaten current norms of good taste and decency to an extent which breached the standard.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
During Talkback with Karyn Hay and Andrew Fagan, the host Mr Fagan made comments about a regular caller, the complainant, who went by the name of ‘Alex’. He said ‘back in 17-something… I’d meet him on the beach as the sun came up and I’d potentially kill him or let him kill me in a duel’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the host had made a ‘veiled death threat’ against the complainant. It was clear the host was not making a serious death threat, but was using provocative, metaphorical language to express his strong views about the complainant.
Not Upheld: Law and Order, Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration
An item on Morning Report reported on a New Zealand Defence Force exercise in Hawkes Bay which involved visiting local schools. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the item was unbalanced and in the nature of ‘propaganda’. This was a brief news report about the army exercise and the school visits, and the fact it reflected positively on the NZDF did not automatically trigger the requirement to present alternative viewpoints.
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues