BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Chaney and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-142

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
  • Louise Chaney
TV One


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

A promo for Seven Sharp showed a Pit Bull owner describing the dogs as the 'most sookiest, goofiest, loyal, loving teddy bears'. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that it was misleading to promote Pit Bulls as 'good family dogs'. The comments were clearly distinguishable as opinion, so the accuracy standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy


[1]  A promo for Seven Sharp included a story on Pit Bull adoption. A Pit Bull owner was shown describing the dogs as the 'most sookiest, goofiest, loyal, loving teddy bears'.

[2]  Louise Chaney complained that it was misleading to promote Pit Bulls as 'good family dogs' as they can be dangerous and have been known to attack children.

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

[4]  The promo was broadcast during ONE News on Thursday 18 September 2014. The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Was the broadcast inaccurate or misleading?

[5]  The accuracy standard (Standard 5) states that broadcasters should make reasonable efforts to ensure that news, current affairs and factual programming is accurate in relation to all material points of fact, and does not mislead. The objective of this standard is to protect audiences from receiving misinformation and thereby being misled.1

[6]  Guideline 5a states that the accuracy standard does not apply to statements which are clearly distinguishable as analysis, comment or opinion. In our view, the comments made by the Pit Bull owner in the promo were clearly distinguishable as her opinion, not a statement of fact to which the standard applied.

[7]  The complainant's main concern was that it was misleading to promote a positive view of Pit Bulls when they have been known to attack children. It was clear from the promo that the aim of the item was to provide a different perspective on Pit Bulls from that commonly presented in the media, as evidenced by the hosts' comments in the promo, 'When it comes to pet adoption, they truly are the underdogs' and 'tonight we take the bite out of the nastiest Pit Bull myths'. The right to freedom of expression includes the right to express one's opinions, even if they are unpopular or incorrect.2 The promo acknowledged that the owner's views were contrary to commonly held perceptions of Pit Bulls, so viewers would not have been misled to think that Pit Bulls were 'good family dogs' as alleged by the complainant.

[8]  Accordingly, we decline to uphold the complaint that the broadcast breached Standard 5.

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Peter Radich
4 March 2015



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

1     Louise Chaney's formal complaint – 18 September 2014
2     TVNZ's response to the complaint – 21 October 2014
3     Ms Chaney's referral to the Authority – 12 November 2014
4     TVNZ's response to the Authority – 20 January 2015



Bush and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2010-036

See, for example, Dempsey and 3 others and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2014-047