BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Field and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-025

Members
  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
Dated
Complainant
  • Philippa Field
Number
2014-025
Programme
One News
Channel/Station
TV One

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

At the end of a One News weather segment, the weather presenter made reference to ‘bejewelled, corpulent, affluent tourists with big fat wallets’ in relation to a photo of a cruise ship. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the comment was inaccurate and in poor taste. While derogatory, it did not reach the threshold for threatening current norms of good taste and decency. The comment was an off-the-cuff remark delivered in a light-hearted tone, without invective, and was obviously intended to be humorous.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration


Introduction

[1]  At the end of a One News weather segment, the weather presenter showed an image of a cruise ship anchored in Hawkes Bay, saying:

…they’re not disgorging logs; they’re disgorging bejewelled, corpulent, affluent tourists with big fat wallets.

[2]  The item aired on 29 January 2014 on TV ONE.

[3]  Philippa Field made a formal complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd, alleging that the presenter’s comment about tourists was ‘probably inaccurate and in very poor taste’. The complainant raised the good taste and decency, accuracy, and discrimination and denigration standards.

[4]  In accordance with guideline 5a to the accuracy standard, the standard does not apply to the weather presenter’s comment, which was clearly not a statement of fact, but rather commentary and opinion. The discrimination and denigration standard applies only to recognised sections of the community (for example on account of race, age, gender or sexuality). ‘Tourists’ are not a section of the community as envisaged by the standard.

[5]  This issue therefore is whether the broadcast breached the good taste and decency standard as set out in the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[6]  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 broadcast threaten current norms of good taste and decency?

[7]  The good taste and decency standard is primarily aimed at broadcasts containing sexual material, nudity, coarse language or violence.[1] The Authority will also consider the standard in relation to any broadcast that portrays or discusses material in a way that is likely to cause offence or distress.[2]

[8]  While we accept that the weather announcer’s comment was derogatory, in our view it was not of a level that threatened current norms of good taste and decency. The comment was an off-the-cuff remark delivered in a light-hearted tone, without invective, and was obviously intended to be humorous. It would not have offended most viewers in this context.

[9]  Accordingly, we decline to uphold the complaint.

 

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Radich
Chair
17 June 2014

Appendix

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

1             Philippa Field’s formal complaint – 29 January 2014

2            TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 25 February 2014

3            Mrs Field’s referral to the Authority – 11 March 2014

4            TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 3 April 2014


1Turner and Television New Zealand Ltd

, Decision No. 2008-112

2Practice Note: Good Taste and Decency (Broadcasting Standards Authority, November 2006)