BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

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Hurley and MediaWorks TV Ltd - ID2018-068 (19 September 2018)

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Paula Rose
  • Wendy Palmer
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • John Hurley
The Project
MediaWorks TV Ltd


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

The Authority declined jurisdiction to accept and consider a complaint referral about a video uploaded to video-sharing website platform YouTube, which featured clips from a broadcast of The Project. The Authority noted that its jurisdiction, which is prescribed under the Broadcasting Act 1989, is limited to consideration of formal complaints about television and radio broadcasts. In this case, the complainant was concerned about content uploaded to YouTube and edited by a third party. The content of the video predominantly comprised commentary by that third party. The Authority therefore did not have jurisdiction to accept and consider the complaint referral.

Declined Jurisdiction  

The YouTube video

[1]  A video uploaded to video-sharing website platform YouTube featured a woman’s response to New Zealand media coverage of an upcoming visit from speakers Stefan Molyneux and Laura Southern. The video featured clips from an episode of The Project, during which the hosts and guests discussed various issues relating to the visit, interspersed with the woman’s commentary on the content of the clips. The commentary made up a dominant portion of the video as a whole.

The complaint

[2]  Mr Hurley submitted a complaint to the broadcaster responsible for The Project, MediaWorks, about the YouTube video. He said that a comment made by one of the hosts of The Project, which featured in the YouTube video, was inaccurate. In the complaint form, Mr Hurley specified that he saw the content ‘online’ and provided the URL of the YouTube video. Mr Hurley did not identify the date or time of the original broadcast of The Project.

[3]  MediaWorks responded to the complaint by first saying that Mr Hurley’s complaint related to ‘a video created by a third party and published on YouTube’. It advised Mr Hurley that it was only required to consider complaints about content published by MediaWorks. Nevertheless, the broadcaster went on to state that in its view, no media standards had been breached, and Mr Hurley’s complaint would not have been upheld.

[4]  Mr Hurley referred his complaint to the Authority, stating that his complaint was about an episode of The Project, and while he did not view the original broadcast episode, the fact that the statement complained about was said by the host of The Project was not disputed. In his submissions on the issue of jurisdiction, Mr Hurley said that he considered the Authority had jurisdiction to accept his complaint, as in his view, he had simply viewed the original broadcast material through a third party.

Outcome: Declined Jurisdiction

[5]  Our jurisdiction is prescribed by the Broadcasting Act 1989 (the Broadcasting Act). The current view is that, under the Broadcasting Act, we do not have jurisdiction over user-generated content provided on websites or internet platforms such as YouTube, because such content is transmitted on the demand of a particular person, and this is excluded from the definition of ‘broadcasting’ under section 2 of the Broadcasting Act.1

[6]  In addition, broadcasters, and the Authority, are subject to the legislative requirements contained in the Broadcasting Act. Section 6(1)(a) of the Act states that ‘it is the duty of every broadcaster to receive and consider formal complaints about any programme broadcast by it…’ This makes it clear that broadcasters are only required to receive and consider complaints which concern a programme ‘broadcast by it’. In this case, the item complained about is an item on the internet, distributed by a third party, not the broadcaster.

[7]  Mr Hurley complained to the broadcaster about an online YouTube video that had been curated and distributed by a third party. While the video featured clips from a broadcast, the original programme had been edited by a third party and included additional commentary, which made up a large part of the video as a whole.

[8]  We therefore find we do not have jurisdiction to accept and consider Mr Hurley’s complaint referral.

For the above reasons the Authority declines jurisdiction to accept the complaint.


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
Authority Member
19 September 2018



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

1       John Hurley’s complaint – 17 July 2018
2       MediaWorks’ response to the complaint – 10 August 2018
3       Mr Hurley’s referral to the Authority – 11 August 2018
4       Mr Hurley’s submissions on jurisdiction – 17 August 2018
5       MediaWorks’ confirmation of no further comment – 17 August 2018

 1 See Content Regulation in a Converged World, Discussion Document, Ministry of Culture and Heritage, 2015, page 13