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Pacifica Shipping (1985) Ltd and CanWest TVWorks Ltd - 2005-026

Members

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

Complainant

  • Pacifica Shipping (1985) Ltd

Dated

18th August 2005

Number

2005-026

Programme

3 News

Channel/Station

TV3

Broadcaster

CanWest TVWorks Ltd


Complaint under section 8(1)(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
3 News – item about strike action at the Port of Lyttelton – showed staff who were not on strike – complainant alleged that viewers might assume that they were on strike – alleged breach of privacy

Findings
Standard 3 (privacy) – staff not identifiable – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Broadcast

[1] Strike action at the Port of Lyttelton was dealt with in an item broadcast on 3 News beginning at 6.00pm on 29 March 2005.

Complaint

[2] The Chief Executive (Rod Grout) of Pacifica Shipping (1985) Ltd (trading as the Pacific Transport Group) complained to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 that the item breached the privacy of some Pacifica Shipping workers.  The item showed these workers and, he maintained, they were in an “invidious situation” as viewers might believe, incorrectly, that they were on strike.

Standards

[3] At the Authority’s request, CanWest TVWorks Ltd, the broadcaster of TV3, assessed the complaint under Standard 3 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.  It reads:

Standard 3 Privacy

In the preparation and presentation of programmes, broadcasters are responsible for maintaining standards consistent with the privacy of the individual.

Guideline

3a Broadcasters must comply with the privacy principles developed by the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Broadcaster's Response to the Complainant

[4] CanWest stated that for a breach of privacy to occur, the person must be identifiable beyond close friends and immediate family.  Arguing that viewers unconnected with the workers would have been unlikely to have recognised the workers, CanWest declined to uphold the complaint.

Complainant’s Final Comment

[5] In his final comment to the Authority on behalf of Pacifica Shipping, Mr Grout repeated the contention that the item, which was concerned about the strike by Lyttelton watersiders, had shown images of some Pacifica Shipping workers.  He noted that CanWest had acknowledged that it was unfair to suggest that those workers were involved in the strike and, he added:

It would surely follow if the workers were identifiable, as we believe they were, the admission leads to a breach of privacy.

[6] Mr Grout explained that Pacifica Shipping was the operator of a daily ferry and that some workers worked with customers daily.  Accordingly, he argued, the workers would have been identifiable beyond close friends and family.

Authority's Determination

[7] The members of the Authority have viewed a tape of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.  The Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

[8] The first step for the Authority when determining whether an item has breached the privacy of an individual is to decide whether the individual is identifiable beyond family and close friends who would reasonably be expected to know about the matter dealt with in the broadcast.  If the person is not identifiable, there cannot be a breach of that person’s privacy.

[9] Having viewed the item, the Authority agrees with CanWest’s response.  It does not accept that the workers shown would have been identifiable beyond family and friends who would have been aware that they were not striking Lyttelton watersiders.  Accordingly, the Authority concludes that the item does not breach Standard 3.

 

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Joanne Morris
Chair
18 August 2005

Appendix

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

  1. Pacifica Shipping’s privacy complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 30 March 2005
  2. CanWest TV Works Ltd’s response to the Authority – 20 June 2005
  3. Pacifica’s final comment – 14 July 2005