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Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2008-080

Members

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

Complainant

  • Allan Golden of Wellington

Dated

21st October 2008

Number

2008-080

Programme

Midday Report

Channel/Station

Radio New Zealand National

Broadcaster

Radio New Zealand Ltd


Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Midday Report – stock market news presented by representative from sharebroking and investment banking firm First NZ Capital – gave firm’s phone number at the conclusion of the report – allegedly unbalanced, inaccurate, unfair and in breach of good taste and decency and social responsibility

Findings
Principle 7 (social responsibility) and guideline 7e – not an advertisement – not upheld

Principle 1 (good taste and decency) – standard not relevant – not upheld

Principle 4 (balance) – broadcast did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance – not upheld

Principle 5 (fairness) – not unfair to any person or organisation – not upheld

Principle 6 (accuracy) – no inaccuracies – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Broadcast

[1]   During the Midday Report programme, broadcast at 12pm on 18 June 2008 on Radio New Zealand National, a representative from sharebroking and investment banking firm First NZ Capital reported the stock market news. At the conclusion of his report, he said:

...and First NZ Capital’s disclosure statement’s available on request free of charge by calling 0800 800 968.

Complaint

[2]   Allan Golden made a formal complaint about the programme to Radio New Zealand Ltd (RNZ), the broadcaster. He contended that the programme should not have included First NZ Capital’s contact details “for the purposes for facilitating listener contact with [the] firm for business purposes”.

[3]   In Mr Golden’s view, this “advertising” within the market report was not distinguished adequately from the factual material. He referred to guideline 7e of the Radio Code, in addition to Principles 1, 4, 5, and 6. 

Principles

[4]   The following principles and guidelines in the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice were nominated by the complainant:

Principle 1

In programmes and their presentation, broadcasters are required to maintain standards which are consistent with the observance of good taste and decency.

Principle 4

In programmes and their presentation, broadcasters are required to maintain standards consistent with the principle that when controversial issues of public importance are discussed, reasonable efforts are made, or reasonable opportunities are given, to present significant points of view either in the same programme or in other programmes within the period of current interest.

Principle 5

In programmes and their presentation, broadcasters are required to deal justly and fairly with any person taking part or referred to.

Principle 6

In the preparation and presentation of news and current affairs programmes, broadcasters are required to be truthful and accurate on points of fact.

Principle 7

In programmes and their presentation, broadcasters are required to be socially responsible.

Guideline 7e

Advertisements and infomercials shall be clearly distinguishable from other programme material.

Broadcaster's Response to the Complainant

[5]   RNZ stated that First NZ Capital’s contact details were not provided to facilitate listener contact for business purposes, nor were they an advertisement. It understood that they arose out of revised guidelines issued by the Commerce Commission to help enforce public accountability and high standards within the finance industry. It concluded:

[The words] raise no issues of broadcasting standards under the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice, however, the use of such phraseology is currently being reviewed under Radio New Zealand’s own Editorial Policy Guide.

Referral to the Authority

[6]   Dissatisfied with RNZ’s response, Mr Golden referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. He maintained that the statement amounted to advertising, and that it was not appropriate.

Authority's Determination

[7]   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.

Principle 7 (social responsibility)

[8]   Mr Golden argued that the inclusion of First NZ Capital’s contact details was an “advertisement”, and that it was not distinguished adequately from the factual material in the report (guideline 7e). The Authority disagrees with the complainant’s view that the broadcast of the firm’s telephone number was an “advertisement”. It did not promote the firm’s services or products, but merely advised how listeners could request a copy of the firm’s disclosure statement.

[9]   Accordingly, the Authority finds that guideline 7e does not apply, and Principle 7 was not breached on this occasion. 

Other standards raised in the complaint

[10]   Mr Golden also nominated Principles 1, 4, 5 and 6 of the Radio Code in his complaint. The Authority declines to uphold these aspects of the complaint, for the following reasons.

[11]   Principle 1 (good taste and decency) is intended primarily to address issues of sex, nudity, bad language and violence. No such matters arose in Midday Report, and therefore the standard is not relevant on this occasion.

[12]   Principle 4 (balance) only applies to broadcasts which discuss controversial issues of public importance. The presentation of the stock market news did not amount to such a discussion, and therefore the Authority declines to uphold the balance complaint. 

[13]   Lastly, the complainant has not specified any “person taking part or referred to” in the programme who he considers was treated unfairly (Principle 5), or pointed to any statements in the item which he considers were inaccurate (Principle 6). In these circumstances, the Authority has no basis upon which to uphold the accuracy and fairness complaints.

 

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Joanne Morris
Chair
21 October 2008

Appendix

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

1.           Allan Golden’s formal complaint – 18 June 2008
2.          RNZ’s decision on the formal complaint – 9 July 2008
3.          Mr Golden’s referral to the Authority – 24 July 2008
4.          RNZ’s response to the Authority – 8 September 2008