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Henderson and TVWorks Ltd - 2007-071

Members

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

Complainant

  • Matthew Henderson of Kerikeri

Dated

4th December 2007

Number

2007-071

Programme

Campbell Live

Channel/Station

TV3

Broadcaster

TVWorks Ltd


Headnote

Complaint under section 8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Campbell Live – report on Cindy Crawford – item contained photos of her from Playboy magazine in which her breasts were shown – allegedly in breach of good taste and decency, programme classification and children’s interests standards

The Authority's Decision

Standard 1 (good taste and decency) – majority – item did not dwell on the pictures in a salacious way – the pictures were tasteful and relevant to the context of the item – contextual factors – not upheld

Standard 9 (children’s interests) – majority – photographs were an artful depiction of the female form – no emphasis was placed on Ms Crawford’s breasts – sufficient consideration given to the interests of child viewers – not upheld

Standard 7 (programme classification) – news and current affairs programmes are unclassified – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Broadcast

[1]   An item on Campbell Live, broadcast on TV3 at 7pm on 15 June 2007, reported on businesswoman and ex-supermodel Cindy Crawford and her promotional work for Omega watches. The item briefly described her life history and included an interview with her. During the course of the report photographs were shown of Ms Crawford posing for the adult magazine Playboy, in which her breasts were shown.

Complaint

[2]   Matthew Henderson made a formal complaint to TVWorks Ltd, the broadcaster alleging that the item had breached standards of good taste and decency, programme classification and children’s interests. He argued that it was inappropriate for a G-rated programme to have shown topless pictures of Ms Crawford prior to 8.30pm, because it was a "family viewing timeslot when children could have been watching".

[3]   The complainant maintained that the use of the pictures in the item was gratuitous and that they had no relevance to the crux of the story. "The point that she posed for Playboy magazine could have been illustrated by a picture of the cover rather than the pornographic images that were shown", he said.

[4]   Mr Henderson pointed out that Playboy was a pornographic magazine that was restricted to people 18 years of age and over. He argued that many people would have found the pictures offensive and that a warning should have been shown prior to the segment advising viewers of its content.

Standards

[5]   TVWorks assessed the complaint under the standards and guidelines nominated by the complainant. These provide:

Standard 1 Good Taste and Decency

In the preparation and presentation of programmes, broadcasters are responsible for maintaining standards which are consistent with the observance of good taste and decency.

Guidelines

1a   Broadcasters must take into consideration current norms of decency and taste in language and behaviour bearing in mind the context in which any language or behaviour occurs. Examples of context are the time of the broadcast, the type of programme, the target audience, the use of warnings and the programme’s classification. The examples are not exhaustive.

1b   Broadcasters should consider - and if appropriate require - the use of on-air visual and verbal warnings when programmes contain violent material, material of a sexual nature, coarse language or other content likely to disturb children or offend a significant number of adult viewers. Warnings should be specific in nature, while avoiding detail which may itself distress or offend viewers.

Standard 7 Programme Classification

Broadcasters are responsible for ensuring that programmes are appropriately classified; adequately display programme classification information; and adhere to time-bands in accordance with Appendix 1.

Guideline 7e

Broadcasters should consider the use of warnings where content is likely to offend or disturb a significant proportion of the audience.

Standard 9 Children's Interests

During children’s normally accepted viewing times, broadcasters are required, in the preparation and presentation of programmes, to consider the interests of child viewers.

Guideline 9a

Broadcasters should be mindful of the effect any programme or promo may have on children during their normally accepted viewing times - usually up to 8.30pm - and avoid screening material which would disturb or alarm them.

Broadcaster's Response to the Complainant

[6]  TVWorks argued that for an item to breach Standard 1, the material contained in it must be unacceptable to a significant number of viewers in the context in which it was shown. It maintained that the nude photos were included in a line-up of other work Ms Crawford had done over the years and that they were relevant and appropriate in that context. The broadcaster believed that the footage was not sexualised or gratuitous in the context of the item. It declined to uphold the good taste and decency complaint.

[7]  The broadcaster pointed out that because of their distinct nature, news and current affairs programmes were not subject to the strictures of the classification system. It argued that because Campbell Live was a news and current affairs programme Standard 7 had no application. The broadcaster declined to uphold the programme classification complaint.

[8]   TVWorks maintained that breasts were a part of the human body and were not of themselves obscene, indecent or upsetting to young children. It argued that the inclusion of the footage was matter-of-fact and relevant to the report. The broadcaster concluded that it had sufficiently considered and been mindful of child viewers and found no breach of Standard 9.

Referral to the Authority

[9]   Dissatisfied with the broadcaster’s response, Mr Henderson referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

[10]  The complainant argued that "the purpose of Playboy was to present sexualised images for the titillation and arousal of its readers". He maintained that images of this nature were offensive to those in the community who objected to pornography as well as being inappropriate for young children.

[11]  Mr Henderson believed that a significant number of viewers would have found the "sexualised images" offensive and that the item should have been accompanied by a warning, particularly because it was broadcast during family viewing time.

Authority's Determination

[12]   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.

Standard 1 (good taste and decency)

[13]  When the Authority considers a complaint that alleges a breach of good taste and decency it is required to take into consideration the context of the broadcast. The relevant contextual factors on this occasion include:

  • the item was broadcast at 7pm during the PGR time band
  • Campbell Live is a current affairs programme and is not classified
  • the programme had an adult target audience
  • the photographs were shown only briefly
  • the photographs showed breasts but no other nudity

[14]  A majority of the Authority (Joanne Morris, Diane Musgrave and Paul France) considers that, while the pictures were sourced from an R18 magazine, the item did not dwell on the pictures in a salacious way. The majority considers that the photographs were an artful depiction of the female form and that the images were not chosen to satisfy prurient interests.

[15]  The images were shown in the context of a picture montage, depicting the evolution of Ms Crawford’s career, and the majority considers that the pictures were relevant in the context of the report. The Authority finds that the photographs shown in the item were relatively inexplicit and are not the type of pictures that gained Playboy magazine its R18 rating. After taking the above contextual factors into consideration, the majority declines to uphold the good taste and decency aspect of the complaint.

[16]  A minority of the Authority (Tapu Misa) disagrees with the majority and considers that the broadcast of the pictures amounted to a breach of Standard 1. The minority has taken particular account of the time of the broadcast (at 7pm, the beginning of the PGR time-band), the fact that there was no warning prior to the photographs being shown, and the nature of Playboy magazine which is an R18 magazine containing pornographic material.

[17]  The minority also considers it relevant that the item showed photographs from the inside pages of the magazine, when the item could have adequately illustrated the fact that Ms Crawford had posed for Playboy by using the cover photograph, which did not contain any nudity. In this respect, the minority is of the view that the photographs seemed to have been chosen to satisfy prurient interests. The minority finds that the photographs were sexually suggestive and designed to titillate, particularly the last of the three photographs where the camera panned down Ms Crawford’s body and her breasts were shown close to the camera. For the above reasons the minority would uphold the good taste and decency complaint.

Standard 9 (children’s interests)

[18]  Standard 9 requires that broadcasters consider the interests of child viewers during children’s normally accepted viewing times. A majority of the Authority (Joanne Morris, Diane Musgrave and Paul France) is of the view that the pictures of Ms Crawford contained in the item were tasteful, inexplicit and inoffensive. As outlined above, the majority considers that the item did not dwell on the pictures in a salacious way, and no emphasis was placed on Ms Crawford’s breasts. Accordingly, the majority finds that the broadcaster gave sufficient consideration to the interests of child viewers. It declines to uphold that the item breached Standard 9.

[19]  A minority of the Authority (Tapu Misa) disagrees with the majority. As mentioned above, the minority considers that the pictures were shown to titillate viewers and satisfy prurient interests. It is the minority’s view that because the pictures were sourced from an adult magazine and were broadcast during children’s normally accepted viewing times without a warning, the broadcaster failed to consider adequately the interests of child viewers. The minority would uphold the children’s interests complaint.

Standard 7 (programme classification)

[20]  Campbell Live is a news and current affairs programme. These types of programmes are unclassified and because of their distinct nature are not subject to the classification system. As a result, Standard 7 is not relevant and the Authority declines to uphold the programme classification complaint.

 

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Joanne Morris
Chair
4 December 2007

Appendix

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

1.            Matthew Henderson’s formal complaint to TVWorks – 17 June 2007
2.           TVWorks’ decision on the formal complaint – 10 July 2007
3.           Mr Henderson’s referral to the Authority – 16 July 2007
4.           TVWorks’ response to the Authority – 25 September 2007