BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Grant and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2006-129

  • Joanne Morris (Chair)
  • Diane Musgrave
  • Tapu Misa
  • Paul France
  • Tracey Grant
TV One

Complaint under section 8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Sunday – repeat episode at 7am on a Sunday morning – reported controversy over recent photographs in Pavement magazine – showed photographs of topless 19-year-old girl – allegedly in breach of children’s interests.

Standard 9 (children’s interests) – contextual factors – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


[1] A repeat episode of the current affairs programme Sunday was broadcast on TV One at 7am on Sunday 29 October 2006. One item reported controversy over a recent magazine spread in Pavement magazine, which some people argued contained sexualised images of girls as young as 11 years of age. The programme featured photographs from the magazine, including several shots of a topless 19-year-old girl, and showed advertisements with models adopting suggestive poses.


[2] Tracey Grant made a formal complaint about the programme to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster. She said her seven-year-old son had been watching television unattended, and had told her that he saw “a woman without her top on” and “two women together…touching each others bottoms”. Ms Grant said that, while there may have been a warning before the programme, her son did not watch the whole programme. She argued that such content should only be shown in the late evening.


TVNZ assessed the complaint under Standard 9 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice, which provides:

Standard 9 Children’s Interests

During children’s normally accepted viewing times, broadcasters are required, in the preparation and presentation of programmes, to consider the interests of child viewers.

Broadcaster's Response to the Complainant

[3] TVNZ noted that there was a definite contrast in programming on a Sunday morning between TV One and TV2; while TV One offered information and current affairs programmes, TV2 was clearly aimed at children. It asserted that parents and caregivers should still be monitoring children’s viewing on the weekend mornings, as television was not “providing some sort of baby-sitting service”.

[4] The broadcaster wrote that Sunday was transparently a current affairs programme, and was therefore not classified. It noted that the programme complained about had been preceded by a warning advising that certain imagery required viewer discretion. TVNZ was of the view that the item had presented the imagery in a discreet and responsible manner. It concluded that Standard 9 was not breached.

Referral to the Authority

[5] Dissatisfied with the broadcaster’s decision, Ms Grant referred her complaint to the Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. She stated that it was reasonable to expect that the main audience on a Sunday morning would be children, and that many children would have changed the channel and inadvertently seen the material complained about.

Broadcaster's Response to the Authority

[6] TVNZ disagreed with the complainant’s assertion that the main audience on TV One on a Sunday morning would be children. The programmes on that channel, it said, would be a most unlikely viewing choice for all but the most mature of young children.

Complainant's Final Comment

[7] Ms Grant agreed with TVNZ that the main audience watching TV One would not be children, but she maintained that a high percentage of television viewers overall would be children. It was unreasonable to expect that children would not change channel from time to time, she said, and they would have been unlikely to see the warning that preceded the programme.

[8] The complainant maintained that it was unacceptable to broadcast the content of the Sunday item at 7am on a Sunday morning.

Authority's Determination

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

[10] At the outset, the Authority observes that the Sunday programme did not contain images of “two women together… touching each others bottoms” as described by the complainant. Accordingly, it confines its consideration of whether Standard 9 was breached by showing the images of the topless 19-year-old model.

[11] The Authority notes that the programme was broadcast during children’s normally accepted viewing times, at 7am on a Sunday morning. While many children are likely to be watching television at this hour, the Authority agrees with the broadcaster that TV One is unlikely to be the channel of choice for most unattended children.

[12] The Authority considers that the brief images of the topless model were not gratuitous or intended to titillate; rather, they were illustrating the reason for the controversy surrounding the edition of Pavement magazine. It also notes that Sunday is a current affairs programme and is therefore unclassified, and it observes that TVNZ broadcast a warning advising that certain imagery in the programme required viewer discretion. Taking into account the above contextual factors, the Authority is of the view that TVNZ adequately considered the interests of child viewers on this occasion.


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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Joanne Morris
22 February 2007


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

1   Tracey Grant’s formal complaint – 10 November 2006

2   TVNZ’s decision on the formal complaint – 29 November 2006

3  Ms Grant’s referral to the Authority – 12 December 2006

4  TVNZ’s response to the referral – 11 January 2007

5   Ms Grant’s final comment – 17 January 2007