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McIntyre and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-138

Members

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

Complainant

  • B McIntyre of Northland

Dated

5th February 2015

Number

2014-138

Programme

ONE News

Channel/Station

TV One

Broadcaster

Television New Zealand Ltd

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

ONE News displayed a 'Vote 2014' logo inside a blue box with a blue tick mark. The Authority declined to uphold the complaint that the use of the colour blue was unfair as it demonstrated 'political bias' in favour of the National Party. The use of the graphic was a matter of editorial discretion for the broadcaster and the shade of blue used was not the same as that used by the National Party.

Not Upheld: Fairness


Introduction

[1]  During ONE News election coverage a logo was displayed which read 'Vote 2014' inside a blue box with a blue tick mark.

[2]  B McIntyre complained that 'red and blue are well recognised as the colours of our respective major parties' and the use of a blue logo demonstrated 'political bias' and was unfair. The complainant argued that the colour of the logo should have been 'politically neutral'.

[3]  While the complainant maintained that the blue logo was used in ONE News bulletins and debates throughout the election period, our jurisdiction is limited to complaints about specific broadcasts. The issue therefore is whether the use of the logo in this particular broadcast breached the fairness standard, as set out in the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[4]  The programme was broadcast on 19 September 2014 on TV ONE. The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the programme and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Was any individual or organisation referred to, or taking part, in the broadcast treated unfairly?

[5]  The fairness standard (Standard 6) states that broadcasters should deal fairly with any person or organisation taking part or referred to in a programme. One of the purposes of the fairness standard is to protect individuals and organisations from broadcasts which provide an unfairly negative representation of their character or conduct. Programme participants and people referred to in broadcasts have the right to expect that broadcasters will deal with them justly and fairly, so that unwarranted harm is not caused to their reputation and dignity.1

[6]  The complainant did not specify who they considered was treated unfairly, but referred to the broadcaster's attempt to 'influence' the voting public through its use of the colour blue, affiliated with the National Party. The fairness standard is not concerned with the general public but applies only to individuals or organisations taking part, or referred to, in broadcasts.

[7]  While other political parties were referred to in the news hour, we do not consider that the use of the colour blue for the logo resulted in those political parties being treated unfairly. As noted in a previous decision on a complaint about TVNZ's use of a blue logo in its coverage of the 2011 general election,2 the colour blue is frequently used by TVNZ in editorial content and the election logo was a standard graphic which the broadcaster was entitled to use in accordance with its editorial discretion. We also agree with the broadcaster that the colour of the logo was not the same shade of blue associated with the National Party.

[8]  Accordingly, 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
5 February 2015

 

Appendix

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

1     B McIntyre's formal complaint – 1 October 2014
2     Further comments from B McIntyre – 4 October 2014
3     TVNZ's response to the complaint – 29 October 2014
4     B McIntyre's referral to the Authority – 5 November 2014
5     TVNZ's response to the Authority – 3 December 2014

 


1 Commerce Commission and TVWorks Ltd, Decision No. 2008-014 

2 Connolly and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2011-153