Complaint under section 8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
One News and TV One promos – use of the word “next” – allegedly inaccurate
Standard 5 (accuracy) – viewers would not have been misled by the use of the word “next” to indicate upcoming programmes – not upheld
This headnote does not form part of the decision.
 Prior to a commercial break during One News, broadcast on TV One at approximately 6.15pm on 9 March 2007, a banner at the bottom of the screen said “Next: Alzheimer’s Awareness” as the presenter briefly described an upcoming news item.
 On the same evening at 6.55pm, a TV One promo carried the words “Next: Antiques Roadshow”, and on 11 March 2007 at 6.55pm a similar promo read “Next: Close Up”.
 R Dodd made a formal complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, that it was inaccurate to use the word “next” as it had been used on One News and in the two TV One promos on 9 and 11 March. He argued that Standard 5 was breached because the advertised items and programmes did not immediately follow the promotions.
 TVNZ assessed the complaint under Standard 5 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice, which provides:
News, current affairs and other factual programmes must be truthful and accurate on points of fact, and be impartial and objective at all times.
 TVNZ contended that the meaning of terms like “next” and “coming up” were perfectly clear to the television audience. In the context of a verbal throw in a television programme, it wrote, “next” did not mean that the item referred to was going to appear immediately. It indicated that the item would appear when the news programme returned, or as part of the next programme (which was always named).
 TVNZ declined to uphold the complaint.
 Dissatisfied with the broadcaster’s response, Mr Dodd referred his complaint to the Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. He disagreed with TVNZ’s view that the use of the word “next” was not inaccurate and contended that the broadcaster should have applied a dictionary definition of the word.
 TVNZ responded that even the meaning of words in dictionaries evolved over time. It said that in certain contexts and taking account of popular usage it was acceptable to use a word in a different way, so long as the meaning was clear.
 Mr Dodd questioned how TVNZ was able to determine what “popular usage” was. He maintained that “next” would imply an “almost immediate programme” to most people.
 The members of the Authority have viewed 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.
 The complainant argued that the word “next” should only be used in promos to advertise programmes or items which were to screen immediately afterwards. However, the Authority agrees with TVNZ that the reasonable viewer would understand that the promos complained about were using the word “next” to indicate that an item would appear when a programme returned, or as part of the next programme. The Authority finds that the use of the word “next” in this context was not inaccurate, and would not have misled viewers.
For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
27 June 2007
The following correspondence was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:
1 R Dodd’s formal complaint – 13 March 2007
2 TVNZ’s decision on the formal complaint – 11 April 2007
3 Mr Dodd’s referral to the Authority – 25 April 2007
4 TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 7 May 2007
5 Mr Dodd’s final comment – 12 May 2007