BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Drackett-Case and TV4 Network Ltd - 2002-044

Members
  • P Cartwright (Chair)
  • B Hayward
  • R Bryant
  • J H McGregor
Dated
Complainant
  • Tony Drackett-Case
Number
2002-044
Programme
Pepsi Chart promo
Channel/Station
TV4

Complaint
Promo for Pepsi Chart man shown sitting on lavatory – behaving as if constipated – offensive behaviour

Findings
Standard G2 – contextual matters – no uphold

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Summary

[1] A promo for Pepsi Chart showed a man sitting on a lavatory and reading a magazine. He was behaving as if he were constipated. It was broadcast on TV4 during the evening of 11 November 2001.

[2] Tony Drackett-Case complained to TV4 Network Ltd, the broadcaster, that the promo was offensive.

[3] In response, TV4 maintained that while it might be outside the expectations of "mainstream" audiences, it was not inappropriate on a niche channel aimed at young adults. It declined to uphold the complaint.

[4] Dissatisfied with TV4’s decision Mr Drackett-Case referred his complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

For the reasons below, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.

Decision

[5] The members of the Authority have viewed a tape of the item complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix. The Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

The Programme

[6] A promo for the Pepsi Chart programme was broadcast on TV4 during the evening of 11 November 2001. It showed a man sitting on a lavatory and reading a magazine. He was acting as if he were constipated. The voice-over said "That’s no good, only the hits come out on Pepsi Chart, this Friday".

The Complaint

[7] Tony Drackett-Case complained to TV4 Network Ltd, the broadcaster, that the item breached the boundaries of good taste and decency. In a letter to the Broadcasting Standards Authority, he described the item as "disgusting".

The Standard

[8] TV4 assessed the complaint against standard G2 of the Television Code of Broadcasting Practice. It requires broadcasters in the preparation and presentation of programmes:

G2  To take into consideration currently accepted norms of decency and taste in language and behaviour, bearing in mind the context in which any language or behaviour occurs.

The Broadcaster’s Response to the Complainant

[9] TV4 referred to the following contextual matters:

  • TV4 was a niche channel aimed at young adults;
  • toilet humour is one of the oldest types of humour; and
  • the promo did not contain anything unusual given that it used toilet humour aimed at young adults.

[10] Declining to uphold the complaint, TV4 referred to context and wrote:

 In this case, the promo promoted a programme intended for teenagers/young adults, and featured "adolescent" humour. It was broadcast on a television channel aimed at young adults, who have different attitudes and expectations to those of more "mainstream" audiences. The Standards Committee considers that TV4 viewers would not have found it outside the currently accepted norms of decency and taste in language and behaviour, and that in fact its intended audience would have found it humorous.

The Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority

[11] As the complainant was dissatisfied with TV4’s decision, he referred the complaint to the Authority. He considered that TV4 was saying that, because some people liked that form of advertising, "the rest of us can get stuffed".

The Authority’s Determination

[12] When it determines a complaint about whether a broadcast contravenes standard G2, the Authority is required to determine whether the material complained about breaches currently accepted standards of good taste and decency, taking into account the context of the broadcast. The context is relevant, but not decisive, to the Authority’s determination of whether the programme breaches standard G2. Accordingly, the Authority has considered the context of the promo.

[13] The Authority considers that a relevant contextual matter is the point that TV4 is a niche channel aimed at young adults. It notes, nonetheless, that this does not excuse TV4 from the adherence to broadcasting standards. The Authority also considers it relevant that the promo used toilet humour which, it accepts, may well appeal to the adolescents and young adults at whom Pepsi Chart is targeted. Also, taking into account the point that the toilet humour which was used did not stray beyond the boundaries of the genre, the Authority concludes that the material Mr Drackett-Case complained about did not breach standard G2.

[14] The Authority observes that to find a breach of broadcasting standards on this occasion would be to interpret the Broadcasting Act 1989 in such a way as to limit freedom of expression in a manner which is not reasonable or demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society (s.5 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990). As required by s.6 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, the Authority adopts an interpretation of the relevant standards which it considers is consistent with and gives full weight to the provisions of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

 

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Judy McGregor
Member
18 April 2002

Appendix

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

  1. Tony Drackett-Case’s Complaint to TV4 Network Ltd – 12 November 2001
  2. Mr Drackett-Case’s Letter to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 16 November 2001
  3. TV4 Network Ltd’s Response to Mr Drackett-Case – 10 December 2001
  4. Mr Drackett-Case’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 12 December 2001
  5. TV4’s Response to the Authority – 21 February 2002
  6. Mr Drackett-Case’s Final Comment – 28 February 2002