BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Kuehn and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2007-136

  • Joanne Morris (Chair)
  • Diane Musgrave
  • Tapu Misa
  • Paul France
  • Lorne Kuehn
One News
TV One

Complaint under section 8(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
One News – item on man who had been stabbed in the upper thigh by a stingray barb – complainant alleged that man’s testicles were visible as he showed the camera his wound – allegedly in breach of good taste and decency

Standard 1 (good taste and decency) – complainant mistaken – man’s testicles not visible – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


[1]   An item on One News, broadcast on TV One at 6pm on 25 October 2007, reported on a fisherman who had been stabbed in the upper thigh by a stingray barb. The item included an interview with the man in hospital, during which his wound was shown to the camera. The man’s underpants were partially visible underneath his gown.   


[2]   Lorne Kuehn made a formal complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that the item showed the man drawing up his hospital gown “thereby exposing what appeared to be his testicles for one or two seconds”.

[3]   The complainant stated that he was “deeply offended by such a violation of public decency”.


[4]   Standard 1 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of broadcasting practice is relevant to the determination of this complaint. It provides:

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.

Referral to the Authority

[5]  As the complainant did not receive a response from TVNZ within the statutory timeframe, he referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

Broadcaster's Response to the Authority

[6]   TVNZ maintained that the man in the item was wearing underpants, and therefore his testicles were not visible at any time. It declined to uphold the complaint that the item had breached Standard 1 (good taste and decency).   

Authority's Determination

[7]   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.

[8]   Having viewed the item, the Authority notes that Mr Kuehn was mistaken about the contents of the broadcast. It is satisfied that the man who was interviewed was wearing underwear and his testicles were not visible at any time. Accordingly the Authority declines to uphold the good taste and decency complaint.


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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Joanne Morris
26 March 2008


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

1.            Lorne Kuehn’s formal complaint – 25 October 2007
2.           Mr Kuehn’s referral to the Authority – 7 December 2007
3.           TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 23 January 2008