The list below contains our recently published decisions, with the latest at the top.
Two items on 3 News reported on two cases of Talley's Group paying compensation to employees for work accidents at its freezing works. The items featured interviews with both workers and referred to their Employment Relations Authority (ERA) cases. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the items were inaccurate and unfair to AFFCO Holdings Ltd, the subsidiary of Talley's Group which owns the freezing works. The broadcaster was entitled to report key parts of the ERA judgments, and AFFCO was given a fair opportunity to comment.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
A story on 60 Minutes featured tragic driveway accidents involving children. Part of the story focused on the death of an 18-month-old boy, and the subsequent struggles of his mother. The mother also discussed her other son, S, and photos and footage were shown of him. The Authority upheld a complaint from S’s father that the programmes breached S’s privacy. S was identifiable by name and image, he was linked with details of his mother’s drug addiction and prostitution which constituted private facts and this disclosure was highly offensive. In the circumstances the broadcaster’s primary concern ought to have been the best interests of the child, regardless of any consent obtained. The Authority recognised the value and public interest in the story but this was outweighed by the need to protect the child.
Order: Section 13(1)(d) $1,500 compensation for breach of privacy
An item on Campbell Live sought to investigate allegations of misconduct within Gloriavale Christian Community. A reporter and a cameraman visited Gloriavale and spoke to two senior members of the community. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast breached these men’s privacy. While the circumstances of the filming may have amounted to ‘prying’, the broadcast did not disclose any private information about the men in a manner that was highly offensive.
Not Upheld: Privacy
An item on Seven Sharp featured the story of a terminally ill woman who is a long-standing voluntary euthanasia campaigner. The item also discussed the history of attempts to legalise voluntary euthanasia in New Zealand and overseas. The Authority upheld a complaint that the item lacked balance. The item did not solely approach voluntary euthanasia from the personal perspective of the interviewee. It included a wider discussion of the voluntary euthanasia debate and law reform that triggered the requirement for presentation of alternative views, which were not presented within the programme or within the period of current interest.
Upheld: Controversial Issues
3 News reported on a gun attack on a Tunisian beach resort, and showed amateur video footage of the event. The footage contained images of people shouting and running around in confusion, and gunshots and bomb blasts could be heard. The footage also showed the gunman lying in the street after he had been shot dead by police. The Authority upheld a complaint that this footage was disturbing and should have been preceded by a warning. While recognizing the high public interest in the story and the footage, viewers were not given a reasonable opportunity to exercise discretion because they were not adequately warned of its nature. The Authority did not make any order.
Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence