BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Harang and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2005-018

Members
  • Joanne Morris (Chair)
  • Diane Musgrave
  • Tapu Misa
  • Paul France
Dated
Complainant
  • Kristian Harang
Number
2005-018
Programme
Close Up
Channel/Station
TV One

Complaint under section 8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Item on Close Up looking at the nudist lifestyle – reporter visited a nudist camp – allegedly in breach of standards relating to good taste and decency and children’s interests

Findings
Standard 1 (good taste and decency) – contextual factors – not upheld

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

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Broadcast

[1] An item broadcast on Close Up on TV One at 7pm on 1 February 2005 used the occasion of the “nude Olympics” to look into the nudist lifestyle.

Complaint

[2] Kristian Harang complained to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, that the item:

Breached standards of good taste and decency in showing naked people during family viewing time;

and

Provided a bad example to teenage and child viewers who might think such behaviour was normal.

Standards

[3] TVNZ assessed Mr Harang’s complaint under Standards 1 and 9 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice, which provide:

Standard 1 Good Taste and Decency

[4] In the preparation and presentation of programmes, broadcasters are responsible for maintaining standards which are consistent with the observance of good taste and decency.

Guidelines

1a   Broadcasters must take into consideration current norms of decency and taste in language and behaviour bearing in mind the context in which any language or behaviour occurs. Examples of context are the time of the broadcast, the type of programme, the target audience, the use of warnings and the programme’s classification. The examples are not exhaustive.

1b   Broadcasters should consider – and if appropriate require – the use of on-air visual and verbal warnings when programmes contain violent material, material of a sexual nature, coarse language or other content likely to disturb children or offend a significant number of adult viewers. Warnings should be specific in nature, while avoiding detail which may itself distress or offend viewers.

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

[5] In its response to the complainant, TVNZ noted that the programme’s host had twice warned viewers of the upcoming content, prior to the item being screened.

[6] It also noted that, as a news and current affairs programme, Close Up was unclassified. TVNZ felt that such programmes had an obligation to reflect all facets of New Zealand life, and saw no good reason why nudists should not, on occasion, have their lifestyle reflected.

[7] As the item was discreetly shot, used electronic masking in some circumstances and was preceded by two warnings, TVNZ did not uphold a breach of Standard 1 (good taste and decency).

[8] Furthermore, TVNZ did not consider the item posed any threat to child viewers, and accordingly did not uphold the complaint in respect of Standard 9 (children’s interests).

Referral to the Authority

[9] Dissatisfied with the broadcaster’s response, Mr Harang referred his complaint to the Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. He reiterated the points raised in his complaint to the broadcaster, and submitted that the exhibitionism of nudity during family viewing time was outside of current norms of decency.

[10] Mr Harang also submitted that Standard 9 (children’s interests) was breached as, even if warnings were given, such warnings could not prevent young people from viewing the item.   

Broadcaster’s Response to the Authority

[11] TVNZ added nothing further to its original reply to the complainant, but noted that the Authority had dealt with a similar complaint in Decision No. 2000-039, which it suggested could be relevant to the present matter.

Authority's Determination

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

[13] When the Authority considers a complaint which alleges a breach of good taste and decency, it is required to take into consideration the context of the broadcast. On this occasion, relevant contextual factors include:

  • The programme is targeted at an adult audience.
  • The item was discreetly shot and electronic masking was used.
  • Two clear warnings were given.
  • While Close Up is a news and current affairs show, and thus is unclassified, the underlying timeslot was PGR.
  • The nudity was not intended to titillate.

[14] Taking into account all the relevant contextual factors, the Authority is of the view that Standard 1 was not breached on this occasion.

[15] Turning to Standard 9 (children’s interests), the Authority notes again the contextual factors listed above. Further, the Authority considers that there is nothing inherently harmful to children in seeing non-sexual nudity in a news and current affairs programme.

[16] The Authority has previously considered complaints about items covering nudism in New Zealand. In Decision No. 2000-039, referred to by TVNZ, it considered that “there was nothing objectionable … about the portrayal of nudism in the context of a news hour”, and that there was no breach of standards relating to good taste and decency or children’s interests. It sees no reason to depart from that approach in the present case.

 

For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Joanne Morris
Chair
11 May 2005

Appendix

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

  1. Kristian Harang’s Formal Complaint to TVNZ – 1 February 2005
  2. TVNZ’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 23 February 2005
  3. Kristian Harang’s Referral to the Authority – 11 March 2005
  4. TVNZ’s Response to the Authority – 17 March 2005