The list below contains our recently published decisions, with the latest at the top.
Talkback radio host Sean Plunket reacted to author Eleanor Catton’s comments at a literary festival in India, which were negative about the New Zealand government. He was highly critical of Ms Catton, saying that she was a ‘traitor’ and an ‘ungrateful hua’ among other things. The Authority did not uphold complaints that Mr Plunket’s comments breached broadcasting standards. The nature of Ms Catton’s remarks was such that it was reasonable for them to attract some strong views in response. The host’s comments were within the bounds of audience expectations of talkback radio and within the right to freedom of expression.
Not Upheld: Fairness, Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Controversial Issues, Accuracy
An item on Morning Report discussed Mark Lundy’s retrial for the murder of his wife and daughter. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item incorrectly inferred that Mr Lundy had actively been seeking increased life insurance on the day the murders occurred, and that this was unfair. The item was a straightforward report of the latest evidence given at trial and the item as a whole clarified the meaning of its opening statements.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness, Law and Order, Responsible Programming
Mediawatch included an interview with a senior member of New Zealand’s media community. The Authority declined to determine the complaint that the interviewee was ‘corrupt’ and therefore the interview constituted inaccurate, unfair and irresponsible broadcasting. The complainant has previously made a number of similar complaints which did not raise matters of broadcasting standards, and has been warned that further similar complaints would be unlikely to be determined in the future. Accordingly the Authority considered the complaint to be vexatious.
Declined to Determine: Good Taste and Decency, Accuracy, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming
An episode of the British police drama series Happy Valley depicted the murder of a police officer by one of the main characters. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the incident and aftermath constituted ‘over the top’ graphic violence. The visual depiction of the violence was not gratuitous and was mostly implied or occurred off-screen. The level of violence was not unacceptable or unexpected in an AO-rated police drama series, and was justified by the narrative context.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence
A ONE News bulletin reported on recent Islamic State activity and showed footage of identified supporters of ISIS and its training camps. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that this promoted, encouraged and glamorised terrorism. The news bulletin carried high public interest and was a straightforward report of recent terrorist activity that in no way condoned or glorified this behaviour.
Not Upheld: Law and Order