BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Jenkins and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2002-062

Members
  • P Cartwright (Chair)
  • B Hayward
  • R Bryant
  • J H McGregor
Dated
Complainant
  • Ron Jenkins
Number
2002-062
Programme
Late Edition
Channel/Station
TV One

Complaint
Late Edition – news item – Solicitor General to appeal sentences of two convicted murderers, Dartelle Alder and Colin Bouwer – complainant convinced Mark Burton shown in item – breach of good taste and decency – inaccurate

Findings
Standards 1 and 5 – complainant mistaken – Mark Burton not shown in item – no uphold

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Summary

[1] An item on Late Edition broadcast on TV One at 10.45pm on 16 January 2002 reported that the Solicitor General was to appeal the sentences of two convicted murderers, Dartelle Alder and Colin Bouwer. The item included footage of the two men.

[2] Ron Jenkins complained to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, that the item included footage of Mark Burton, who was found not guilty on the grounds of insanity of murdering his mother. Mr Jenkins said the footage was irrelevant to the news item and including it was in poor taste.

[3] TVNZ declined to uphold the complaint. It said there was no footage of Mark Burton in the item, and the complainant must have been mistaken.

[4] Convinced that he had not been mistaken, Mr Jenkins referred the complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

For the reasons given, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.

Decision

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

The Programme

[6] An item on Late Edition broadcast on TV One at 10.45pm on 16 January 2002 reported that the Solicitor General was to appeal the sentences of two convicted murderers, Dartelle Alder (who killed a woman jogger near Hastings) and Colin Bouwer (who killed his wife). The item included footage of the two men.

The Complaint

[7] Ron Jenkins complained to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, that the item included footage of Mark Burton, who was found not guilty on the grounds of insanity of murdering his mother. Mr Jenkins said the footage was irrelevant to the news item and including it was in poor taste.

The Standards

[8] TVNZ assessed Mr Jenkins’ complaint under Standard 1 and Standard 5 of the Television Code of Broadcasting Practice, which read:

Standard 1 Good Taste and Decency

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

Standard 5 Accuracy

News, current affairs and other factual programmes must be truthful and accurate on points of fact, and be impartial and objective at all times.

The Broadcaster’s Response to the Complainant

[9] TVNZ referred the complainant to earlier email correspondence between him and the television newsroom, when the newsroom had advised that after checking the tape it was satisfied that the two men shown were Dartelle Alder and Colin Bouwer.

[10] TVNZ said its Complaints Committee had closely examined a videotape of the item, as well as coloured pictures of Mark Burton published in The Dominion on 31 August 2001, The New Zealand Herald on 1 September 2001, and The Listener on 13 October 2001.

[11] Declining to uphold the complaint, TVNZ said:

It was the committee’s conclusion that you had been mistaken in believing that Mark Burton appeared in the item. He did not.

The Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority

[12] Mr Jenkins referred his complaint to the Authority, stating that he saw Mark Burton in the news item, and "to be told I never saw what I saw is alarming to me".

The Broadcaster’s Response to the Authority

[13] TVNZ responded to the Authority that, despite Mr Jenkins’s insistence that he had seen Mark Burton in the item, the two men shown were Dartelle Alder (in the first and last sequence of the item) and Colin Bouwer (in the middle sequence).

[14] TVNZ enclosed a colour photograph of Mark Burton taken from The Listener to assist the Authority in its deliberations.

The Complainant’s Final Comment

[15] Mr Jenkins repeated his complaint that the item had shown Mark Burton in the dock of the Invercargill Court.

The Authority’s Determination

[16] As is its usual practice, the Authority obtained a videotape of the item complained about from TVNZ. Having carefully viewed and examined the videotape and the photograph of Mark Burton provided to it by TVNZ, the Authority is satisfied that the item did not include footage of Mark Burton, as contended by the complainant. The Authority concurs with TVNZ that the complainant must have been mistaken. Accordingly, it declines to uphold the complaint.

 

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Cartwright
Chair
23 May 2002

Appendix

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

  1. Ron Jenkins’ email to Television New Zealand Ltd – 16 January 2002
  2. TVNZ’s response to the email – 22 January 2002
  3. Mr Jenkins’ Formal Complaint to TVNZ – 1 February 2002
  4. TVNZ’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 25 February 2002
  5. Mr Jenkins’ Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 7 March 2002
  6. TVNZ’s Response to the Authority – 14 March 2002
  7. Mr Jenkins’ Final Comment – Received 3 April 2002