TV3 current affairs programme – breach of standards – breach of privacy
Privacy – decline to determine
Standards – decline to determine
This headnote does not form part of the decision.
C complained to TV3 Network Services Ltd, the broadcaster, that a current affairs programme broadcast on TV3 breached broadcasting standards. C also laid a privacy complaint about the programme with the Broadcasting Standards Authority.
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 arrives at its decision on these complaints without a formal hearing.
The Authority has carefully considered the matters raised in the material provided to it by the parties. Section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 gives the Authority power to decline to determine a complaint if it considers that, in all the circumstances of the complaint, it should not be determined by the Authority. In the Authority’s view, the circumstances of these complaints warrant it exercising its discretion under section 11(b).
The Authority reaches this view for the following reasons. First, the matters raised in the complaints are highly sensitive and personal. Second, the lengthy correspondence provided by the parties raises questions of fact which the Authority is not satisfied could be resolved, even with the benefit of a hearing. Given that the Authority may regulate its procedure in such manner as it thinks fit, any hearing to determine these complaints could be held in private. However, the Authority is required to give public notice of its decisions, which in turn are required to include the Authority’s reasons for its decisions. Given the likelihood of public disclosure of information highly sensitive to the complainant following issue of its decision, in the Authority’s view the process of determining the complaints has the potential to compound the harm which gave rise to the initial complaints.
For the reasons given, the Authority declines to determine the complaints under section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
2 August 2001
The following correspondence was received and considered by the Authority:
The Standards Complaint