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Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2015-010

Members

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

Complainant

  • Allan Golden

Dated

16th June 2015

Number

2015-010

Programme

Mediawatch

Channel/Station

Radio New Zealand National

Broadcaster

Radio New Zealand Ltd

Summary

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

Mediawatch included an interview with a senior member of New Zealand's media community. The Authority declined to determine the complaint that the interviewee was 'corrupt' and therefore the interview constituted inaccurate, unfair and irresponsible broadcasting. The complainant has previously made a number of similar complaints which did not raise matters of broadcasting standards, and has been warned that further similar complaints would be unlikely to be determined in the future. Accordingly the Authority considered the complaint to be vexatious.

Declined to Determine: Good Taste and Decency, Accuracy, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming


Introduction

[1]  Mediawatch included an interview with a senior member of New Zealand's media community.

[2]  Mr Golden argued in essence that as Mediawatch 'implies it takes the behaviour of the news media seriously', the decision to interview someone who is 'corrupt' amounted to inaccurate, unfair and irresponsible broadcasting.

[3]  The issue is whether Mr Golden's concerns raise issues of broadcasting standards of a level which warrants our determination.

[4]  The item was broadcast on Radio New Zealand National on 25 January 2015. The members of the Authority have listened a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Does the complaint raise any issues that warrant our determination?

[5]  Section 11(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 authorises this Authority to decline to determine a complaint if it considers the complaint is frivolous, vexatious or trivial. The policy behind section 11 is that the time and resources of the Authority, which are, in the end, sustained by the people of New Zealand, should not be wasted in having to deal with matters which objectively have no importance.1

[6]  A vexatious complaint is one which has been instituted without sufficient justifying grounds.2 The Authority is usually reluctant to label a complaint vexatious, but has previously held that when a complainant refers numerous complaints about the same issue, even though their earlier complaints have been dismissed with comprehensive reasoning, the repeated complaints were vexatious.3

[7]  Mr Golden's main concern appears to be RNZ's choice of interviewee, against whom he made numerous serious allegations. He is not concerned with the content of the interview, but with a matter of editorial discretion.

[8]  Mr Golden has previously made a number of similar complaints to this Authority that did not raise matters of broadcasting standards.4 In our decision on one of these complaints, we warned Mr Golden that these complaints were 'bordering on vexatious'.5 Despite this he continues to refer similar complaints that do not fall within the ambit of broadcasting standards and accordingly cannot be determined by us.

[9]  For these reasons we decline to determine this complaint on the basis it is vexatious.

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

 

Peter Radich
Chair

16 June 2015

 

 

Appendix

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

1      Allan Golden's formal complaint – 27 January 2015
2      RNZ's response to the complaint – 24 February 2015
3      Mr Golden's referral to the Authority – 28 February 2015
4      Mr Golden's further comments – 17 March 2015
5      RNZ's response to the Authority – 24 April 2015

 


1 Practice Note: Section 11 powers to decline to determine a complaint (Broadcasting Standards Authority, June 2013)

Ibid

Ibid

4 For example, Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2015-002; Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2014-159; Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2014-008

5 Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2013-028