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Osborne and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2013-085

Members

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga

Complainant

  • A Osborne of Invercargill

Dated

4th March 2014

Number

2013-085

Programme

Seven Sharp

Channel/Station

TV One

Broadcaster

Television New Zealand Ltd


Summary [This summary does not form part of the decision.]

Two items on Seven Sharp contained sexualised imagery and innuendo. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the items were inappropriate in a prime time news and current affairs slot. Both items were clearly intended to be humorous rather than titillating, and would not have been unduly offensive or unexpected for regular viewers, given the programme’s mix of serious news, banter and entertainment.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency


Introduction

[1]  Two items on Seven Sharp, a New Zealand current affairs and entertainment programme, contained sexualised imagery and innuendo. The first item, broadcast on 7 October 2013, included footage of a man’s YouTube parody of Miley Cyrus’ raunchy performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. The man was shown dancing provocatively around a toilet bowl wearing a bikini made out of glad-wrap. In the second item, broadcast on 8 October, a male presenter gave viewers a ‘clue’ about an upcoming story, saying: ‘you’re going to see me very hot and sweaty the next time I’m onscreen’. His male co-presenter commented, ‘Mmm, I can’t wait…’ The presenters burst into laughter. The programme screens at 7pm on TV ONE.

[2]  A Osborne made a formal complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that the content was not newsworthy and inappropriate in this timeslot.

[3]  The issue is whether the broadcasts breached the good taste and decency standard, as set out in the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[4]  The members of the Authority have viewed recordings of the broadcasts complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Did the broadcasts threaten current norms of good taste and decency?

[5]  The good taste and decency standard is primarily aimed at broadcasts containing sexual material, nudity, coarse language or violence.1 The Authority will also consider the standard in relation to any broadcast that portrays or discusses material in a way that is likely to cause offence or distress.2

[6]  The complainant alleged that footage of a ‘naked man… doing explicit sexualised manoeuvres’ in the first item was broadcast for ‘shock value and to raise ratings through sex, scandal and smut’. With regard to the second item, the complainant said ‘the sexual innuendo of the gay presenter’ was inappropriate for mainstream television especially during a news and current affairs programme screened in family viewing time.

[7]  TVNZ considered both items were appropriate in context, and were intended to be humorous rather than sexually explicit. The broadcaster said that Seven Sharp took a more informal, conversational approach to news and current affairs so the material would not have surprised regular viewers.

[8]  We do not consider that either broadcast would have offended or distressed most viewers. Seven Sharp departs from the orthodox current affairs model, offering a mix of topical issues, humour and entertainment, and applying comedy techniques to some stories. While the parody footage contained sexual material, it was clearly intended to be humorous rather than titillating. It was also topical as it showed a local man who had gained international publicity for his parody of another highly-publicised performance that had attracted worldwide media attention (namely, Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV Video Music Awards).

[9]  The comment made in the broadcast on 8 October was fleeting and inexplicit, though it carried sexual undertones. Again, it was clearly intended to be humorous, which was reinforced by the co-hosts’ laughter. The comment was typical of the presenters’ light-hearted banter on Seven Sharp, and would not have been unduly offensive or unexpected for regular viewers.

[10]  Accordingly, we decline to uphold the complaint that the programmes breached Standard 1.

 

For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Radich
Chair
4 March 2014

Appendix

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

1                  A Osborne’s formal complaint – 21 October 2013

2                 TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 18 November 2013

3                 A Osborne’s referral to the Authority – 29 November 2013

4                 TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 10 January 2014


1Turner and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2008-112

2Practice Note: Good Taste and Decency (Broadcasting Standards Authority, November 2006)