BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

CE and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-120

Members
  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
Dated
Number
2014-120
Programme
My Kitchen Rules
Channel/Station
TV One

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

My Kitchen Rules showed the contestants shopping at a Countdown supermarket in Christchurch, in which the complainant was briefly visible in the background. The Authority declined to uphold the complaint that the footage of the complainant breached her privacy. The footage was extremely fleeting and she would have been identifiable to only a very limited group of people, paying close attention to the footage. The complainant's whereabouts were not a private fact because she had voluntarily disclosed this on social and professional networking sites and this information, along with her employment at the Countdown store, were disclosed in a press release.

Not Upheld: Privacy


Introduction

[1]  During My Kitchen Rules, a competitive cooking show, the contestants were filmed shopping at a supermarket in Christchurch. The complainant, CE, was shown very briefly in the background.

[2]  CE complained that the footage of her breached her privacy. She said that she was an employee at Countdown and had asked 'the person in charge that day' to get the camera crew to delete the footage due to safety concerns involving an ex-partner.

[3]  The issue is whether the broadcast breached the privacy standard, as set out in the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[4]  The programme was broadcast on 17 September 2014. The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Did the broadcast breach the complainant's privacy?

[5]  The privacy standard (Standard 3) states that broadcasters should maintain standards consistent with the privacy of the individual. The standard exists to protect individuals from undesired access to, and disclosure of, information about themselves and their affairs. This is in order to maintain their dignity, choice, mental wellbeing and reputation, and their ability to develop relationships and opinions away from the glare of publicity.

[6]  When we consider a privacy complaint, we must first determine whether the person whose privacy has allegedly been interfered with was identifiable in the broadcast. The test is whether the person would have been 'identifiable beyond family and close friends who would reasonably be expected to know about the matter dealt with in the broadcast'.1

[7]  The footage of the complainant was extremely brief. She was shown for less than one second in the peripheral of the screen as the contestants shopped in the produce section of Countdown. Given the brevity of the footage of her, she would have been identifiable to only a very limited group of people paying very close attention to the footage.

[8]  The next question is whether the footage revealed any private facts about the complainant. Privacy principle 1 of the Authority's privacy principles provides that it is inconsistent with an individual's privacy to allow the public disclosure of private facts, where the disclosure is highly offensive to an objective, reasonable person.

[9]  The fleeting footage of CE simply showed her in Countdown. It was not at all obvious that she was an employee there, and was not apparent whether or not she was wearing a uniform. In addition, while the programme disclosed that the store was in Christchurch, it did not refer to the specific location of the store.

[10]  A 'private fact', for the purposes of privacy principle 1, is information which a person would reasonably expect to remain private, as opposed to information that is on public record or already in the public domain.2 The broadcaster has provided information indicating the complainant's presence on social and professional networking sites, which state she resides in Christchurch. TVNZ also referred to a press release which contained a photograph of the complainant and disclosed her specific place of employment. We do not think in these circumstances that she had a reasonable expectation of privacy in this information.

[11]  For these reasons, we find that the complainant's privacy was not breached, and we decline to uphold the complaint.

Name suppression

[12]  While we have not upheld the privacy complaint, taking into account the circumstances surrounding the complaint and the complainant's concerns for her safety, we consider it appropriate to suppress her details in this decision.

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

 

Peter Radich
Chair
5 February 2015

 

Appendix

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

1      CE's direct privacy complaint – 22 September 2014
2      CE's request for name suppression – 23 September 2014
3      Further comment from CE – 18 October 2014
4      TVNZ's response to the complaint – 21 October 2014
5      Additional comments from TVNZ – 23 October 2014
6      Further comments from TVNZ (including attachment) – 24 October 2014

 

 


1 See for example, Moore and TVWorks Ltd, Decision No. 2009-036 at paragraph [12] 

2 Practice Note: Privacy Principle 1 (Broadcasting Standards Authority, June 2011)