BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

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Bracey and Ee and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2013-084

Members
  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
Dated
Complainant
  • Robyn Bracey, David Ee
Number
2013-084
Programme
One News
Channel/Station
TV One

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

A One News item reporting on Family Planning’s call for sex education in schools for younger children, included brief footage of Miley Cyrus’ performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. Consistent with two previous decisions, the Authority did not uphold complaints that the footage was inappropriate to show during the news. Given recent widespread publicity of the performance, it was a relevant example of the kind of sexualised images Family Planning was concerned younger audiences were being exposed to. Unclassified news programmes often contain material unsuitable for children and some adult supervision is expected.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Controversial Issues


Introduction

[1]  An item on One News reported on Family Planning’s call for sex education in schools for younger children. The item opened with brief footage of Miley Cyrus’ raunchy performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards, with the commentary, ‘They’re images that not even young children can seem to avoid.’ The item was broadcast on TV ONE on 1 November 2013.

[2]  Robyn Bracey and David Ee made formal complaints to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that the footage was irrelevant to the news item and inappropriate to air during prime time when younger audiences might be watching.

[3]  The issue is whether the item breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards, as set out in the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice. Mr Ee also raised the balance standard but did not make any arguments regarding the viewpoints he believed were missing, and it is not relevant to his main concern, so we have limited our determination to the most applicable standards.

[4]  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 item threaten current norms of good taste and decency?

[5]  The good taste and decency standard (Standard 1) is primarily aimed at broadcasts containing sexual material, nudity, coarse language or violence.1 The Authority will also consider the standard in relation to any broadcast that portrays or discusses material in a way that is likely to cause offence or distress.2

[6]  We have recently declined to uphold two complaints about the same footage of Miley Cyrus being broadcast during the news.3 While the footage may not have been to everyone’s taste, it was a brief clip that was illustrative of the issue that the news report was concerned with. Given the widespread media publicity that the performance attracted, and that the Family Planning representative herself referred to ‘MTV’ in the item, it was a suitable example of the kind of sexualised images Family Planning was concerned younger audiences were being exposed to, supporting its call for sex education for younger children.

[7]  The footage did not threaten current norms of good taste and decency in this context, and we decline to uphold the complaint under Standard 1.

Did the broadcast adequately consider children’s interests?

[8]  The children’s interests standard (Standard 9) requires broadcasters to consider the interests of child viewers during their normally accepted viewing times – usually up to 8.30pm. The purpose of the standard is to protect children from broadcasts which might adversely affect them.4

[9]  While the item aired on One News at a time when younger audiences might be watching, we note that during unclassified news programmes, including those broadcast during children’s normally accepted viewing times, adult supervision is expected as these programmes are likely to contain material that is inappropriate for children. The clip was very brief and would not have alarmed or distressed child viewers.

[10]  We therefore find that the broadcaster adequately considered children’s interests, and we decline to uphold the Standard 9 complaints.

 

For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Radich
Chair
4 March 2014

Appendix

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

Robyn Bracey’s formal complaint

1                  Robyn Bracey’s formal complaint – 1 November 2013

2                 TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 20 November 2013

3                 Ms Bracey’s referral to the Authority – 9 December 2013

4                 TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 10 January 2014

David Ee’s formal complaint

1                  David Ee’s formal complaint – 1 November 2013

2                 TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 25 November 2013

3                 Mr Ee’s referral to the Authority – 25 November 2013

4                 TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 10 January 2014


1Turner and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2008-112

2Practice Note: Good Taste and Decency (Broadcasting Standards Authority, November 2006)

3Harang and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2013-073 and Wilson and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2013-069

4E.g. Harrison and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2008-066