BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Dodds and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-006

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
  • Christina Dodds
3 News
MediaWorks TV Ltd
TV3 # 4


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

A 3 News update, broadcast during the PGR-rated movie Night at the Museum 2, featured security footage of a man who walked into a petrol station with a metal rod lodged in his head. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the update screened graphic and disturbing violent footage, without a warning, which would have upset children. This was a newsworthy story and the footage was relatively inexplicit. It was reasonable to expect that child viewers would have been supervised by adults, given the movie was rated PGR, and children were unlikely to be unduly alarmed or disturbed in this context.

Not Upheld: Children's Interests


[1]  A 3 News update, broadcast at 7.41pm during Night at the Museum 2 which was rated PGR, featured security footage of a man who walked into a petrol station with a metal rod lodged in his head, in order to seek help after being attacked.

[2]  Christina Dodds complained that the news update broadcast disturbing and alarming images before 8.30pm which would have upset and harmed children.

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

[4]  The update was broadcast on TV3 at 7.41pm on 17 January 2015. 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 broadcaster adequately consider children's interests?

[5]  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.1

[6]  MediaWorks argued that in the context of a PGR-rated movie that contained fantasy sequences in which various characters tried to 'vanquish the protagonist by nefarious means', the 3 News team sufficiently considered the interests of children. MediaWorks considered that most children would have been curious about the footage, as it was an unusual sight, but would not have been alarmed or disturbed.

[7]  In our view, the images of the man's injury were relatively inexplicit and brief, and did not go beyond expectations of the movie's PGR classification, defined in Appendix 1 to the Code as 'Programmes containing material more suited for mature audiences but not necessarily unsuitable for child viewers when subject to the guidance of a parent or an adult.' The footage was not particularly gory or graphic; only a relatively small amount of blood was visible. Further, the man appeared calm rather than being visibly distressed or in pain, which mitigated the impact of the images. We do not think that children would have been unduly distressed or alarmed by the footage.

[8]  As the update was broadcast during a PGR-rated movie, it was reasonable to assume that child viewers would be supervised while watching and that the movie would contain some content which required the guidance of an adult. It is also expected that the news and news updates, which are unclassified, may contain a variety of challenging images and stories. This was a newsworthy story that was legitimate to report, and we do not think the level of the content shown warranted the use of a warning.

[9]  Overall we are satisfied that the broadcaster adequately considered children's interests when screening the news update during Night at the Museum 2, and we decline to uphold the complaint under Standard 9.

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority



Peter Radich
7 May 2015



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

1      Christina Dodds' formal complaint – 26 January 2015
2      MediaWorks' response to the complaint – 10 February 2015
3      Ms Dodds' referral to the Authority – 11 February 2015
4      MediaWorks' response to the Authority – 6 March 2015



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