Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
One News – item reported that Olympic medallist Nadzeya Ostapchuk had missed the deadline to appeal her positive drugs test – sports reporter commented that this meant New Zealander Valerie Adams was “one step closer to getting her gold medal”, and the presenter made reference to Belarus’s “crazy president” – allegedly in breach of good taste and decency, law and order, controversial issues, accuracy, fairness, discrimination and denigration, and responsible programming standards
Standards 1 (good taste and decency), 2 (law and order), 4 (controversial issues), 5 (accuracy), 6 (fairness), 7 (discrimination and denigration) and 8 (responsible programming) – sports reporter and presenter were engaging in light-hearted banter and their comments did not carry any malice or invective – that New Zealand allegedly had a worse history of cheating than Belarus is not an issue of broadcasting standards – not upheld
This headnote does not form part of the decision.
 An item on One News reported that Olympic medallist Nadzeya Ostapchuk had missed the deadline to appeal her positive drugs test. The sports reporter commented, “The Belarusian’s time to appeal a positive drugs test that saw her stripped of gold ticked over today. So that means [silver medallist New Zealander] Valerie Adams is one step closer to getting her gold medal.” The sports reporter then joked to the other One News presenters, “If it hasn’t been melted down by a goldsmith in Minsk as we speak.” One of the presenters responded, “Yes, or reclaimed by that crazy president they’ve got”. The item was broadcast on TV One at 6pm on 4 September 2012.
 Allan Golden made a formal complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that the sports reporter and presenter made “abusive comments… targeted at the leader of the country of Belarus and that country’s discredited female shot-put star”. He said that it was “unfair [because] New Zealand in recent times (the last three summer Olympics) has a far worse government-led Olympic cheating record than has Belarus”.
 The issue is whether the broadcast breached Standards 1 (good taste and decency), 2 (law and order), 4 (controversial issues), 5 (accuracy), 6 (fairness), 7 (discrimination and denigration) and 8 (responsible programming) of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.
 The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.
 Mr Golden nominated numerous standards but did not make arguments in relation to any of them. The sports reporter and presenter were engaging in banter and made some throwaway comments that did not carry any malice or invective. Mr Golden said that his “prime objection” was that he believed New Zealand had a worse history of cheating than Belarus. This is not something we can make a finding on, and is not an issue of broadcasting standards.
 We therefore decline to uphold the complaint.
For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
4 December 2012
The following correspondence was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:
1 Allan Golden’s formal complaint – 5 September 2012
2 TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 1 October 2012
3 Mr Golden’s referral to the Authority – 2 October 2012
4 TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 16 October 2012