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Reynolds and TV3 Network Services Ltd - 2000-155

Members

  • P Cartwright (Chair)
  • R Bryant
  • J H McGregor
  • R McLeod

Complainant

  • John Reynolds of Auckland

Dated

6th November 2000

Number

2000-155

Channel/Station

TV3

Broadcaster

TV3 Network Services Ltd


Complaint
Boxing: De la Hoya v Mosely – boxing – omission of action between rounds – misleading – distorted editing

Findings
(1) Standard G1 – no inaccuracy – no uphold

(2) Standard G19 – editorial discretion – no uphold

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Summary

Boxing: De la Hoya v Mosely, a world championship boxing bout between Oscar De la Hoya and Shane Mosely, was broadcast on TV3 on 18 June 2000 between 4.00pm and 6.00pm.

John Reynolds complained to TV3 Network Services Ltd, the broadcaster, that the coverage was of a portion of the fight only, as the events and activities which took place between rounds were not screened, in favour of commercial breaks. Mr Reynolds said that this "integral" part of the match was deliberately omitted, and that this was misleading and unfair.

TV3 explained that the programme was edited both to fit the time slot which it had allocated for the bout and to account for advertising breaks, which were included according to accepted practice and for commercial reasons. It considered that the bout was fully covered, as all footage relevant to the judges’ decision was shown and the results shown were accurate. It also considered that its broadcast was not distorted by the removal of some of the between rounds material. It declined to uphold the complaint.

Dissatisfied with TV3’s decision, Mr Reynolds referred the complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

For the reasons given below, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.

Decision

The members of the Authority have viewed a tape of the item complained about and have read the correspondence which is listed in the Appendix. The Authority determines this complaint without a formal hearing.

Boxing: De la Hoya v Mosely, a world championship boxing bout between Oscar De la Hoya and Shane Mosely, was broadcast on TV3 on 18 June 2000 between 4.00pm and 6.00pm.

John Reynolds complained to TV3 that the coverage was of a portion of the fight only, as the events and activities which took place between rounds were not screened, in favour of commercial breaks. Mr Reynolds said that this "integral" part of the match was deliberately omitted, and that this was misleading and unfair.

TV3 advised that it had assessed the complaint under standards G1 and G19 of the Television Code of Broadcasting Practice. Standard G1 requires broadcasters:

G1  To be truthful and accurate on points of fact.

Standard G19 reads:

G19  Care must be taken in the editing of programme material to ensure that the extracts used are a true reflection and not a distortion of the original event or the overall views expressed.

TV3 explained that the bout had gone on for 12 rounds and that the programme was edited to fit the time slot allocated for it, and to account for advertising breaks, which had been included for commercial reasons. It commented that it was:

accepted practice worldwide to place the ad breaks between rounds as this causes less interruption to the viewer.

TV3 also commented that the programme had contained fewer advertisements per hour than the ratio agreed on by free-to-air broadcasters.

TV3 did not agree that it had not fully covered the fight. It considered that the bout was fully covered, as all footage relevant to the judges’ decision was shown and the results shown were accurate. It added that it had shown some between rounds action. It concluded that it had not breached standard G1.

As to standard G19, TV3 considered that its broadcast was not distorted by the removal of some of the between rounds material. It declined to uphold this aspect of the complaint.

In his referral to the Authority, Mr Reynolds said TV3’s contention that replacing between rounds action with advertisements was "accepted practice in order to generate revenue" was a "spurious claim". He believed that TV3 had not elaborated on what was "accepted practice" and that "the generation of revenue [was] hardly a reason for non-compliance with the Television Codes of Broadcasting Practice".

Mr Reynolds also maintained that TV3’s explanation that the fight had to be edited to fit in with a scheduled news broadcast at 6.00pm did not explain why commercials were screened between rounds. He then reiterated his contention that between rounds action was an integral part of the drama of a boxing contest, and that TV3 had breached standards G1 and G19.

The Authority’s Findings

The Authority observes that this complaint appears to relate largely to the complainant’s programming preferences. The editorial decision about what aspects of the event to screen is a matter outside the Authority’s jurisdiction. The Authority records that its determination is confined to the matters of broadcasting standards which were raised by the complainant.

The Authority does not consider that the broadcast of the fight transgressed standards G1 or G19 by omitting to include events and activities which took place between rounds. In the absence of any evidence from the complainant that such action is an integral part of a boxing bout, the Authority accepts TV3’s arguments that such material does not usually have any bearing on the outcome of the fight. The Authority also considers that the inclusion of "between rounds action" was a matter for the broadcaster’s editorial discretion.

 

For the reasons given, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Cartwright
Chair
6 November 2000

Appendix

The following correspondence was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:

1.    John Reynolds’ Complaint to TV3 Network Services Ltd – 20 June 2000

2.    Mr Reynolds’ Letter to TV3 – 4 July 2000

3.    TV3’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 24 July 2000

4.    Mr Reynolds’ Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 22 August 2000

5.    TV3’s Response to the Authority – 6 September 2000