BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Jamieson and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2016-057 (14 October 2016)

Members
  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Paula Rose
Dated
Complainant
  • Pip Jamieson
Number
2016-057
Programme
The Morning Sound
Broadcaster
MediaWorks Radio Ltd
Channel/Station
The Sound

Summary

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

Hosts on The Morning Sound radio show discussed the news that the Tui Brewery at Mangatainoka had made a number of workers redundant. The hosts commented that the Brewery was where the ‘pretty’ and ‘hot girls’ worked and expressed their concern about them being ‘laid off’, making comments such as, ‘All the pretty girls are going...’, ‘I hope they don’t get rid of any of the hot girls’, and ‘I don’t know if I can drink the beer if it’s not had the ladies’ touch.’ The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this discussion was denigrating or discriminatory towards any female workers made redundant, or to women generally. The hosts were clearly referring to a series of satirical Tui television advertisements, which depicted the Mangatainoka Brewery as being run by women. In any event, any female workers who may have been made redundant were not a section of the community covered by the standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration


Introduction

[1]  Hosts on The Morning Sound radio show discussed the news that the Tui Brewery at Mangatainoka had made a number of workers redundant. The hosts commented that the Brewery was where the ‘pretty’ and ‘hot girls’ worked and expressed their concern about them being ‘laid off’, making comments such as, ‘All the pretty girls are going...’, ‘I hope they don’t get rid of any of the hot girls’, and ‘I don’t know if I can drink the beer if it’s not had the ladies’ touch.’

[2]  Pip Jamieson complained that the hosts described the redundant workers based on their sex and only in terms of their attractiveness. She said that the discussion objectified women and that gender should have been irrelevant to the reporting.

[3]  The issue is whether the broadcast breached the discrimination and denigration standard, as set out in the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice.1

[4]  The segments were broadcast at 6.25am and 7.24am on 24 June 2016. The members of the Authority have listened to a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Did the broadcast encourage the denigration of, or discrimination against, redundant female workers, or women generally, as a section of the community?

[5]  The purpose of the discrimination and denigration standard (Standard 6) is to protect sections of the community from verbal and other attacks. The standard protects against broadcasts which encourage the denigration of, or discrimination against, any section of the community on account of sex, sexual orientation, race, age, disability, occupational status, or as a consequence of legitimate expression of religion, culture or political belief.

[6]  ‘Discrimination’ is defined as encouraging the different treatment of the members of a particular section of the community, to their detriment. ‘Denigration’ is defined as devaluing the reputation of a class of people (guideline 6a). In light of the importance of the right to freedom of expression, a high level of condemnation, often with an element of malice or nastiness, will be necessary to conclude that a broadcast encouraged discrimination or denigration in breach of the standard (guideline 6b).

[7]  MediaWorks stated the hosts did not intend to ‘malign the laid-off workers, trivialise their situation or make a value judgement with respect to the workers on the basis of their gender or appearance’. It considered most viewers would have understood that the hosts’ ‘tongue-in-cheek’ references to ‘pretty girls’ were related to the Tui advertisements, and not to the actual workers.

[8]  MediaWorks submitted that there was no level of malice or nastiness in the hosts’ comments, and that the standard was not intended to prevent the broadcast of genuinely humorous or satirical material – which it believed was how the hosts’ comments would be interpreted.

[9]  Ms Jamieson’s complaint, and MediaWorks’ response to the complaint, appear to refer to the alleged discrimination against, or denigration of, any female workers who may have been made redundant from the Brewery. Any female workers who were made redundant, and the redundant workers generally, are not in our view a section of the community covered by the standard. The sections of the community specified in Standard 6 are consistent with the grounds for discrimination listed in the Human Rights Act 1993.

[10]  In any event, we do not think that the hosts in their comments were referring to the actual workers made redundant from the Mangatainoka Brewery. Rather, when they commented about ‘pretty girls’ or ‘hot girls’, the hosts appeared to be referring to a relatively well-known series of satirical Tui television advertisements, which depicted the Mangatainoka Brewery as being run by women. Most listeners would have understood the hosts’ references to the advertisements and would not have interpreted their comments as referring to the actual workers involved.

[11]  We also do not consider that the hosts intended to encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, women generally. In the context of the show, which presents entertaining snippets about current affairs rather than being a serious news bulletin, the hosts’ comments were in reference to a series of advertisements which satirised the general perception of a beer brewery being male-dominated. There was no malice or nastiness directed towards the redundant workers or to women, and we do not think the hosts intended to pass a judgement on the appearance of any female workers made redundant from the Brewery.

[12]  We therefore find the broadcast did not encourage discrimination or denigration against any section of the community and we do not uphold the complaint under Standard 6.

For the above reasons the Authority does not uphold the complaint.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

 

Peter Radich
Chair
14 October 2016

 

Appendix

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

1     Pip Jamieson’s formal complaint – 26 June 2016
2     MediaWorks’ response to the complaint – 26 July 2016
3     Ms Jamieson’s referral to the Authority – 27 July 2016
4     MediaWorks’ response to the Authority – 24 August 2016

 


1 This complaint was determined under the new Radio Code, which took effect on 1 April 2016 and applies to any programmes broadcast on or after that date: http://bsa.govt.nz/standards/radio-code

2 See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK6wxFfZRbc and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZKCNXn3xSo