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Ede and The Radio Network Ltd - 2009-005

Members

  • Joanne Morris (Chair)
  • Paul France
  • Tapu Misa
  • Diane Musgrave

Complainant

  • Trevor Ede of Wellington

Dated

1st April 2009

Number

2009-005

Channel/Station

Radio Hauraki

Broadcaster

The Radio Network Ltd


Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
The Morning Pirates – hosts discussed the act of people photocopying their naked bottoms on the office photocopier – one of the hosts photocopied his bottom on the radio station's photocopying machine and encouraged listeners to do the same – host invited listeners to exchange photocopies with him via facsimile – allegedly in breach of good taste and decency, law and order and responsible programming

Findings
Standard 1 (good taste and decency) – contextual factors – not upheld

Standard 2 (law and order) – programme did not encourage listeners to break the law or otherwise promote, glamorise or condone criminal activity – not upheld

Standard 8 (responsible programming) – hosts' actions were inoffensive and harmless – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Broadcast

[1]  During The Morning Pirates breakfast show, broadcast on Radio Hauraki at 7.30am on 12 December 2008, the hosts began a discussion about people photocopying their bottoms on the office photocopier and whether it was an "urban myth". One of the hosts then stated he was going to try to make a photocopy of his bottom on the radio station’s photocopier, which he then proceeded to do with help from the other hosts.

[2]  After photocopying his bottom, the host stated:

I will now issue a challenge New Zealand. You send me yours and I’ll send you mine. Get faxing New Zealand!

[3]  The hosts then provided listeners with the fax number for Radio Hauraki.

Complaint

[4]   Trevor Ede made a formal complaint to The Radio Network Ltd (TRN), the broadcaster, alleging the item breached standards of good taste and decency, law and order and responsible programming.

[5]  The complainant believed the host’s actions contravened broadcasting standards and contributed "nothing to the art of entertainment or social well being".

Standards

[6]  TRN assessed the complaint under Standards 1, 2 and 8 and guidelines 1a, 2a and 8a of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice. These provide:

Standard 1

Broadcasters should observe standards of good taste and decency.

Guideline 1a
Broadcasters will take into account current norms of good taste and decency, bearing in mind the context in which any language or behaviour occurs and the wider context of the broadcast e.g. time of day, target audience.

Standard 2 Law and Order

Broadcasters should observe standards consistent with the maintenance of law and order.

Guideline 2a
Caution should be exercised in broadcasting items which explain the technique of crime in a manner that invites imitation.

Standard 8 Responsible Programming

Broadcasters should ensure that programme information and content is socially responsible.

Guideline 8a
Broadcasters should be mindful of the effect any programme content may have on children during their normally accepted listening times.

Broadcaster's Response to the Complainant

[7]  TRN stated that Radio Hauraki was "an adult station broadcasting to a largely male audience" and that The Morning Pirates breakfast programme was "an irreverent show, featuring entertainment and satire". It contended that "the hosts had some fun with the old Christmas Party gag of photocopying your nether regions on the office Xerox". It said the hosts thought it might be an urban myth and challenged the audience to put it to the test in a fun and inoffensive way.

[8]   With respect to Standard 1, the broadcaster argued the station's target audience was well used to this sort of segment on the show and that the item was directed at them. It declined to uphold the complaint that the item breached standards of good taste and decency.

[9]   Turning to Standard 2, TRN stated that the hosts had neither committed a crime nor demonstrated how to break the law in the broadcast and it declined to uphold the law and order complaint.

[10]   Responding to the complainant's contention that the item had breached standards relating to responsible programming, the broadcaster said "this was no more than pure entertainment and fun" and that the item was inoffensive. It declined to uphold the complaint.

Referral to the Authority

[11]   Dissatisfied with TRN's response, Mr Ede referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. The complainant maintained that the item breached standards of good taste and decency and pointed out that "the transmission was during the breakfast timeframe, and was likely to have been heard by a far wider and more impressionable audience than that supposedly intended".

[12]   Mr Ede reiterated his belief that the item had breached standards relating to law and order and responsible programming.

Authority's Determination

[13]   The members of the Authority have listened to a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix. The Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

Standard 1 (good taste and decency)

[14]   When the Authority considers an alleged breach of good taste and decency, it is required to take into account the context of the broadcast. On this occasion, the relevant contextual factors include:

  • The Morning Pirates segment was broadcast at 7.30am, during children's normally accepted listening times
  • the programme has a largely male adult target audience
  • the expectations of regular listeners.

[15]  In the Authority's view, the segment consisted of inoffensive and harmless fun aimed at entertaining a largely male adult target audience. Taking the above contextual factors into account, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint that the segment breached Standard 1.

Standard 2 (law and order)

[16]   The Authority has previously stated (see Decision No. 2005-133) that the intent behind the law and order standard is to prevent broadcasts that encourage viewers to break the law, or otherwise promote, glamorise or condone criminal activity. On this occasion, the Authority agrees with the broadcaster that nothing in the segment could be said to have breached the standard.

[17]   Accordingly, the Authority declines to uphold the law and order complaint.

Standard 8 (responsible programming)

[18]   As stated above in paragraph [15], the Authority considers the hosts' actions were inoffensive, harmless and intended to be entertaining. It concludes that the broadcast was not in breach of Standard 8, and declines to uphold this part of the complaint.

 

For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Joanne Morris
Chair
1 April 2009

Appendix

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

1.         Trevor Ede’s formal complaint – 12 December 2008
2.        TRN's response to the formal complaint v 19 December 2008
3.        Mr Ede's referral to the Authority – 7 January 2009
4.        TRN's response to the Authority – 19 January 2009