[This summary does not form part of the decision.]
An interview was broadcast on Afternoons with Wendyl Nissen with a journalist, about an article she had written regarding the upcoming perjury trial of the secret witnesses who testified in David Tamihere’s murder trial. During the interview the journalist discussed the discovery of one victim’s body, saying, ‘you think of a body turning up… it’s really… bones. The trampers who found [the] body actually stepped on it before they saw it.’ Ms Nissen replied: ‘So there was a crunch’, adding, ‘– sorry to be disgusting’. A complaint was made that this comment was ‘disgusting, disrespectful’ and ‘in poor taste’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the good taste and decency standard, finding that Ms Nissen’s immediate apology after the comment, and other contextual factors, mitigated any potential harm or distress caused by the comment, and it did not reach the high threshold necessary to find a breach of the good taste and decency standard.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
 An interview was broadcast on Afternoons with Wendyl Nissen with a journalist, about an article she had written regarding the upcoming perjury trial of the secret witnesses who testified in the 1990 trial of David Tamihere for the murder of Swedish tourists Urban Höglin and Heidi Paakkonen. During the interview the journalist spoke about the discovery of Mr Höglin’s body. She noted the extent of decomposition and contextualised how difficult it can be to locate a body, particularly in rugged terrain, saying:
You think of a body turning up… it’s really… bones. The trampers who found Höglin’s body actually stepped on it before they saw it.
 In response to this Ms Nissen said (laughing): ‘So there was a crunch’, adding, ‘– sorry to be disgusting’.
 Brent Esler complained that this comment was ‘disgusting, disrespectful’ and ‘in poor taste’. He said that the entire interview was biased towards Mr Tamihere being innocent and that he was disgusted at the discussion of the idea that Mr Tamihere was framed for prior rape convictions. Mr Esler said he was left feeling ‘absolutely disgusted’, and found the segment as a whole ‘unbalanced and disrespectful’.
 The issue raised in Mr Esler’s complaint is whether the broadcast breached the good taste and decency standard of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice.
 The segment was broadcast at 12.20pm on 25 July 2017 on RadioLIVE. The members of the Authority have listened to a recording of the interview subject to complaint and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.
 The purpose of the good taste and decency standard (Standard 1) is to protect audience members from listening to broadcasts that are likely to cause widespread undue offence or distress, or undermine widely shared community standards. In a radio context this is usually in relation to offensive language, sexual material, or, sometimes, violence.1
The parties’ submissions
 Mr Esler submitted:
 MediaWorks submitted:
 When we consider a complaint alleging a breach of broadcasting standards, our starting point is to recognise the importance of the right to freedom of expression, including both the broadcaster’s right to impart ideas and information and opinions, and the audience’s right to receive that information. We may only interfere and limit the right to freedom of expression where we consider the potential or actual harm that may be caused by the broadcast outweighs the importance of that right. In this case, Mr Esler has submitted that Ms Nissen’s comment was disgusting and disrespectful, with the potential to cause significant harm considering the sensitive nature of the interview’s subject matter and the ongoing nature of the Tamihere case.
 Context is crucial in determining whether a broadcast threatens community norms of taste and decency, and a broadcast’s context may, in some cases, minimise its harmfulness.2 The following contextual factors are relevant in the present case:
 Having regard to these factors, we do not consider that Ms Nissen’s comment reached the high threshold necessary to find that it threatened current norms of good taste and decency, or that the level of potential harm or offence justifies limiting the important right to freedom of expression in this case. In the context of an eight-minute item this was a brief, spur-of-the-moment comment reacting to the journalist’s description of the manner in which Mr Höglin’s body was found. Ms Nissen immediately apologised and recognised the comment was ‘disgusting’, which mitigated its potential offensiveness. In our view this fleeting comment did not undermine the remainder of the interview or take it beyond what was acceptable in the context of this programme and audience expectations.
 For these reasons, we do not uphold the good taste and decency complaint.
 For completeness we note that Mr Esler also raised concerns about the segment and the discussion of Mr Tamihere’s guilt or innocence being biased and unbalanced. These are concerns which may have been better addressed under the balance standard (Standard 8). However, as the balance standard was not raised in the original complaint to the broadcaster we are not able to consider it.
For the above reasons the Authority does not uphold the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
16 November 2017
The correspondence listed below was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:
1 Brent Esler’s formal complaint – 25 July 2017
2 MediaWorks’ response to the complaint – 22 August 2017
3 Mr Esler’s referral to the Authority – 4 September 2017
4 MediaWorks’ confirmation of no further comment – 8 September 2017
1 Commentary: Good Taste and Decency, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 12
2 Commentary: Good Taste and Decency, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 12