BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Gillingham and TVWorks Ltd - 2012-053

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
  • Sam Gillingham
3 News
TVWorks Ltd
TV3 # 3

Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
3 News – item on “strip club turf war” contained footage of a stripper wearing only a G-string and dancing erotically – allegedly in breach of good taste and decency and children’s interests standards – broadcaster upheld the complaint under Standards 1 and 9 – action taken allegedly insufficient

Action Taken: Standard 1 (good taste and decency) and Standard 9 (children’s interests) – action taken by broadcaster sufficient considering the nature of the breach – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


[1]  An item on 3 News, broadcast on TV3 at 6pm on Thursday 3 May 2012, reported on a “strip club turf war” in Wellington involving opposition from strip club operators and the police to a new entrant to the city’s entertainment area. The item contained footage of a stripper wearing only a G-string, filmed from behind, as she pole danced erotically.

[2]  Sam Gillingham made a formal complaint to TVWorks Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that the item contained “unnecessary nudity” that was excessive and designed to titillate rather than inform.

[3]  TVWorks upheld the complaint under Standards 1 (good taste and decency) and 9 (children’s interests) on the basis the footage was gratuitous and would have surprised a significant number of viewers, and because no warning was given to enable parents to exercise discretion with regard to their children’s viewing. Having upheld the complaint, the broadcaster apologised to the complainant and said that its senior editorial staff had been counselled on their obligations to consider the interests of children and the general audience when visually communicating news events, so as to prevent a similar breach in the future.

[4]  Dissatisfied with the action taken by the broadcaster having upheld his complaint, Mr Gillingham referred his complaint to this Authority.

[5]  The issue is whether, having upheld the complaint under Standards 1 (good taste and decency) and 9 (children’s interests) of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice, the action taken by the broadcaster was sufficient.

[6]  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 action taken by the broadcaster, having upheld the complaint, sufficient?

[7]  In our view, the action taken by the broadcaster in upholding the complaint, apologising to the complainant and counselling its editorial staff to prevent a similar breach of broadcasting standards, was sufficient.

[8]  The footage of the stripper pole dancing in a G-string was very brief in the context of the entire news item, and had some relevance to the subject matter of the item, namely, a “strip club turf war”, which was signposted for viewers in the introduction. We are satisfied that the inclusion of the footage in the item was the result of a lapse of judgement, and that the steps taken by TVWorks were proportionate to the nature of the breach.

[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
21 August 2012


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

1                  Sam Gillingham’s formal complaint – 5 May 2012

2                 TVWorks’ response to the complaint – 16 May 2012

3                 Mr Gillingham’s referral to the Authority – 19 May 2012

4                 TVWorks’ response to the Authority – 15 June 2012