BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present
All Decisions
Reekie and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-033 (23 August 2019)

During a segment of The AM Show, which discussed how different sections of the community had united in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks, host Duncan Garner said he’d like ‘the gangs’ to nominate a person to ‘look after’ the alleged attacker. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Mr Garner’s comment breached broadcasting standards. The Authority found, upon consideration of contextual factors, including the glib nature of the comment, that while it was discordant with the tone of the broadcast and may have caused offence to some, it did not go beyond audience expectations of Mr Garner or The AM Show. The Authority concluded that any restriction of the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression on this occasion would be unreasonable. 

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence, Law and Order

Muir and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-039 (23 August 2019)

A complaint alleging that an interview on Breakfast with Professor Douglas Pratt, an expert in theological and religious studies, breached broadcasting standards has not been upheld. The interview was exploring Professor Pratt’s views on the possible motivation behind the attacks on 15 March 2019 on two mosques in Christchurch. The Authority found that the interview was not a discussion as contemplated under the balance standard, but rather Professor Pratt’s in-depth, expert opinion, and therefore the balance standard did not apply. The Authority also found that the broadcast did not contain a high level of condemnation towards the Christian community nor the level of malice or nastiness required to breach the discrimination and denigration standard.

Not Upheld: Balance, Discrimination and Denigration

Burton and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-026 (23 August 2019)

 The Authority has upheld a complaint that a promo for The Shallows shown during Finding Dory breached the children’s interests standard. The Authority found that the promo, which featured sinister and scary shark related content, was inappropriate for a child audience which would likely have been disturbed or alarmed by it. The Authority noted the importance of scheduling and editing promos for AO programmes appropriately, taking into account the classification of the host programme, and also the time of broadcast, target and likely audience of the host programme, and audience expectations. In considering the contextual factors, the Authority also found that the promo did not meet the G classification of the host programme. The Authority made no orders, and determined that the publication of the decision was sufficient to publicly notify and remedy the breach and would provide appropriate guidance to the broadcaster and to broadcasters generally.

Upheld: Children’s Interests. No order.

Taimoori and 5TUNZ Communications Ltd - 2019-019 (23 August 2019)

The Authority has upheld a complaint about two broadcasts on Humm FM, finding that the complainant was treated unfairly. The Authority found that comments made by the host during the broadcasts were likely to reflect negatively on the complainant and to impact on his personal and professional reputation. As the complainant was adversely affected, he should have been given an opportunity under the fairness standard to respond to the comments made about him. The Authority emphasised that the right to broadcast carries with it privileges and responsibilities, and in this case the host used his platform to air his personal grievances against the complainant without giving him an opportunity to comment, which was unfair. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the privacy standard, finding that while the complainant may have been identifiable to the Hindi community to which these broadcasts were targeted, no private information or material about him was disclosed. 

Upheld: Fairness. Not Upheld: Privacy  

Order: Section 16(4) – $750 in costs to the Crown

Frost and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2019-025 (23 August 2019)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that comments made by Duncan Garner and Judith Collins on The AM Show breached the balance and law and order standards of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice. The Authority found that the comments identified did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance, so the balance standard did not apply. The Authority also found that the broadcast did not breach the law and order standard as it did not contain any content which would have encouraged audiences to break the law.

Not Upheld: Balance, Law and Order

NT and Television New Zealand - 2019-028 (19 August 2019)

Warning: This decision contains content that some readers may find distressing.

Following the 15 March 2019 attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, 1 News at 6pm twice broadcast an edited clip taken from the alleged attacker’s 17‑minute livestream video. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast was in breach of the good taste and decency and violence standards. The content of the clip, and the broadcast as a whole, was newsworthy and had a high level of public interest. The very brief clip was an edited segment of the livestream video which provided information to audiences, but which did not contain explicit graphic or violent content and did not promote or glorify the actions of the attacker. Specific warnings and extensive signposting ensured audiences were sufficiently informed about the disturbing nature of the content. Taking into account the unprecedented nature of these attacks in New Zealand, the Authority found that the alleged harm did not outweigh the important right to freedom of expression and the high level of public interest in the broadcast. The Authority’s intervention in upholding the complaint would therefore represent an unreasonable or unjustified limit on the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence   

UJ and SKY Network Television Ltd - 2019-030 (19 August 2019)

Warning: This decision contains content that some readers may find distressing.

During coverage of the 15 March 2019 attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, SKY Network Television channel 085, Sky News New Zealand, included a number of edited clips taken from the alleged attacker’s 17‑minute livestream video. The Authority upheld a complaint that the broadcast was in breach of the violence and law and order standards. While the broadcast as a whole was newsworthy and had a high level of public interest, the clips themselves contained disturbing violent content, which had the potential to cause significant distress to members of the public, and particularly to the family and friends of victims and the wider Muslim community in New Zealand. In the context of the attacks, the content of these clips also risked glorifying the alleged attacker and promoting his messages. As such, the degree of potential harm that could be caused to audiences was greater than the level of public interest, and the Authority found overall that these clips, in the form broadcast, should not have been aired.

Upheld: Violence, Law and Order; Declined Jurisdiction: Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

Order: Section 16(4) – $4,000 in costs to the Crown

Grant and Phillips and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-013 (19 August 2019)

Warning: This decision contains content that some readers may find distressing.

On 15 March 2019 a special 1 News broadcast covered the terrorist attacks on two Christchurch mosques. The broadcast featured footage of victims being taken into hospital, many of whom had visibly sustained gunshot injuries and/or were identifiable. The Authority did not uphold two complaints that the coverage breached the privacy standard. The Authority found that media coverage of this event had high public interest in light of the unprecedented nature of extreme violence that occurred. The media had an important role to play in informing the public of events as they unfolded, including the nature and scope of injuries suffered and the action of first responders, including medical personnel. The Authority acknowledged that the repeated use of footage of identifiable victims amounted to a breach of privacy but found that the public interest defence applied. The Authority also did not uphold a complaint that the good taste and decency, children’s interests and violence standards were breached. The Authority found that there was sufficient signposting by the broadcaster of the nature of the event being reported on to enable audiences to make informed choices as to whether they, or children in their care, should watch the coverage. The Authority held that the footage of the victims (which illustrated the gravity of the situation) was justified in the public interest.

Not Upheld: Privacy, Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence

Moyer and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-034 (19 August 2019)

A complaint about the use of the alleged mosque attacker’s name during a 1 News report was not upheld. The Authority found that in the context of the item the single use of the name and the broadcast’s limited reference to violence did not breach the violence standard.

Not Upheld: Violence

Horowhenua District Council and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2018-105 (29 July 2019)

A broadcast of The Long Lunch hosted by Wendyl Nissen included an interview with Horowhenua District Councillor (HDC) Ross Campbell, who talked about his decision to wear a body camera to Council meetings after what was described as incidents of bullying towards him. MediaWorks upheld the complaint under the fairness standard, finding that it should have sought comment from HDC prior to the broadcast, but did not take any remedial action. The Authority upheld HDC’s complaint that the action taken by MediaWorks following the finding of the breach of the fairness standard was insufficient. The Authority found that MediaWorks ought to have broadcast a follow-up item to remedy the breach. The Authority also upheld the complaint that the item was unbalanced as it did not include any comment from HDC or acknowledgement of an alternative viewpoint with respect to the allegations of bullying. Finally, the Authority found the broadcast was likely to mislead audiences by giving the impression that HDC had a systemic culture of bullying, through the absence of the presentation of alternative perspectives, and upheld the complaint under the accuracy standard.

Upheld: Fairness (Action Taken), Balance, Accuracy

Order: Section 13(1)(a) broadcast statement

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