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Tukariri and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-012

Dated

17th June 2014

Number

2014-012

Programme

Jeremy Kyle

Channel/Station

TV2

Broadcaster

Television New Zealand Ltd


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

The Authority declined to uphold the complaint that an episode of Jeremy Kyle, a talk show dealing with relationship breakdowns between guests, breached broadcasting standards. The complainant’s objections related to the nature of the series in general, rather than specific content in this episode. While elements could have caused discomfort or distress for viewers, the episode was consistent with audience expectations of the talk show genre, was rated PGR and was broadcast at a time when AO programmes are permitted, during the school term, so children were unlikely to be watching.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Controversial Issues, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming, Children’s Interests, Violence


Introduction

[1]  An episode of Jeremy Kyle, a talk show dealing with relationship breakdowns between guests, featured a father being denied contact with his new-born baby and a woman accusing her sister of sleeping with her new husband. The programme aired on TV2 on 25 November 2013 at 1pm.

[2]  Haare Tukariri made a formal complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd, alleging that Jeremy Kyle breached a number of standards in the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[3]  The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Did the programme breach broadcasting standards?

[4]  The complainant alleged that the programme allowed the host ‘to portray all of his so-called guests in the worst possible way’ and that ‘anyone involved in social work would be appalled at the content of this programme’. He raised the good taste and decency (Standard 1), controversial issues (Standard 4), discrimination and denigration (Standard 7), responsible programming (Standard 8), children’s interests (Standard 9), and violence (Standard 10) standards.

[5]  In our view, the complainant’s objections relate to the programme genre in general and the nature of the series as a whole, as opposed to the content of this particular episode. His concerns are based largely on personal preference, and do not raise issues of broadcastings standards which we can resolve within the ambit of the Code. Section 5(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 recognises that complaints based merely on personal preference are not capable of being resolved by this complaints procedure.

[6]  In summary, the standards raised by the complainant were not breached because:

  • while viewers may have found some elements of the episode offensive or distressing, in the context of a well-known talk show which was classified PGR, and broadcast at a time when AO programmes are permitted, during the school term, the content overall did not reach the threshold for threatening current norms of good taste and decency. Most viewers are familiar with the format of this type of day-time talk show, in which personal or family disputes are aired and mediated. The episode was not unusual in this respect, and was consistent with audience expectations of this genre (Standard 1)
  • the controversial issues standard does not apply as Jeremy Kyle is not a news, current affairs or factual programme (Standard 4)
  • the participants in the broadcast were not a ‘section of the community’ to which the discrimination and denigration standard applied (Standard 7)
  • the episode was correctly classified PGR, advising parental supervision, and broadcast in an AO timeslot, and did not contain anything that would have caused unwarranted panic, alarm or distress to a supervised audience, or deceived or disadvantaged viewers (Standard 8)
  • the broadcaster adequately considered children’s interests by airing the episode at 1pm during the school term, so children were unlikely to be watching, and by displaying the PGR classification, indicating that parental supervision was recommended (Standard 9)
  • the episode did not contain ‘violence’ as envisaged by the violence standard (Standard 10).

[7]  For these reasons, and given the complainant’s concerns were directed more at the nature of the programme in general, as opposed to any specific content, we decline to uphold the complaint.

 

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Radich
Chair
17 June 2014

Appendix

The correspondence listed below was received and considered by the Authority when it determined these complaints:

1                 Haare Tukariri’s formal complaint – 20 January 2014

2                 TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 22 January 2014

3                 Mr Tukariri’s referral to the Authority – 31 January 2014

4                 TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 2 April 2014