BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Calder and Television New Zealand Ltd and TVWorks Ltd - 2010-151

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Tapu Misa
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
  • John Calder
One News, 3 News
TV One and TV3

Authority declines to accept the complaints on the grounds that it does not have jurisdiction to do so.

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


[1]   On Sunday 19 September 2010, both One News (broadcast on TV One) and 3 News (broadcast on TV3) reported on the results of the Qantas Film and Television Awards which had been announced the previous evening.


[2]   John Calder complained to Television New Zealand Ltd and TVWorks Ltd, the broadcasters, about their coverage of the awards. He stated that both broadcasters had “only reported on TV awards and people connected with [their] own organisation. This was inaccurate and misleading and a ‘distortion of the original event’”. He nominated Standard 5 (accuracy) and guideline 6b to Standard 6 (fairness) in his complaints.

Broadcasters’ Responses to the Complainant

[3]   TVWorks declined to accept Mr Calder’s complaint, stating that it did not accept that his concerns related to broadcasting standards. It wrote, “Editorial selection of material to be included in news is the domain of the editor of the programme and not subject to review by this committee.”

[4]   TVNZ responded that the item had not solely discussed TVNZ wins, nor had it discussed all the TVNZ wins. It said that no points of fact in the item were inaccurate or would have misled viewers, and declined to uphold the Standard 5 complaint. TVNZ was of the view that guideline 6(b), which relates to the editing of programme material, did not apply in the circumstances.

Referral to the Authority

[5]   On 27 September 2010, Mr Calder wrote stating that he wanted to refer his complaint about TV3 to the Authority. He then wrote asking to refer his TV One complaint to the Authority on 26 October 2010.

Authority's Finding

[6]   We note that Mr Calder’s sole complaint was that both TV One and TV3 only reported on awards for people connected with their own organisations. We agree with TVWorks that the selection of material to be included in a news item is a matter of editorial discretion, not broadcasting standards. Further, we note that section 5(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 states:

Complaints based merely on a complainant’s preferences are not, in general, capable of being resolved by a complaints procedure.

[7]   Mr Calder’s complaint that these news items should have contained coverage of different awards is clearly his own preference rather than a matter of broadcasting standards which could be resolved by this complaints procedure.

[8]   For the above reasons we find that Mr Calder’s original emails to the broadcasters were not “formal complaints”, and therefore neither broadcaster was obliged to accept and respond to those complaints under the Broadcasting Act 1989. Since no valid formal complaint was made, we find that this Authority has no jurisdiction to accept a referral of Mr Calder’s complaints.


For the above reasons we decline jurisdiction to accept Mr Calder’s complaints.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Peter Radich
23 November 2010


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

1.           Mr Calder’s emails to TVNZ and TVWorks – 19 September 2010

2.          TVWorks’ response to Mr Calder – 23 September 2010

3.          Mr Calder’s email to the Authority regarding TVWorks’ response – 27 September 2010

4.          TVNZ’s response to Mr Calder – 22 October 2010

5.          Mr Calder’s email to the Authority regarding TVNZ’s response – 26 October 2010