BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Martin and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2014-045

Members
  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
Dated
Complainant
  • Paul Martin
Number
2014-045
Programme
MORE FM Breakfast
Broadcaster
MediaWorks Radio Ltd
Channel/Station
MORE FM

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

During MORE FM Breakfast the hosts discussed ‘age-appropriate’ movies and invited callers to phone in and tell them what movies they watched ‘before they should have’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the programme’s treatment of ‘underage viewing’ breached the law and order standard. Personal anecdotes were standard fare for breakfast radio shows, and reasonable listeners would not have taken the programme as a serious encouragement to break the law or to allow young children to watch unsuitable films.

Not Upheld: Law and Order


Introduction

[1]  During MORE FM Breakfast the hosts talked about the animated film Frozen, and one host commented he did not think the film was targeted at ‘middle-aged men’. This led to a discussion about ‘age-appropriate’ films, and the hosts prompted listeners to phone in to tell them what movies they watched when they were younger ‘before they should have’. The hosts took calls and read out Facebook messages from listeners who had watched horror movies or movies with adult content as children and teenagers. The broadcast aired at 7am on Thursday 3 April 2014.

[2]  Paul Martin made a formal complaint to the MediaWorks Radio Ltd (MediaWorks), alleging that the item ‘dealt with underage viewing very flippantly’, at a time when school children could be listening.

[3]  The issue is whether the broadcast breached the law and order standard of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[4]  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 listeners to break the law or otherwise promote or condone criminal activity?

[5]  The intent behind the law and order standard is to prevent broadcasts that encourage viewers to break the law, or otherwise promote, glamorise or condone criminal activity.1 The standard exists to ensure that broadcasters refrain from broadcasting material which does not respect the laws which sustain our society.2

Mr Martin argued that the item did not properly address the fact that ‘allowing a child to watch a restricted film carries a penalty of up to 3 months in prison or a $10,000 fine’. MediaWorks argued that the approach of the hosts was ‘to target their adult audience and encourage them to take a trip down nostalgia lane’. It said that this ‘did not implicitly or explicitly encourage underage children to watch films that are inappropriate’.

[6]  In the broadcast, the hosts introduced the topic of ‘age-appropriate movies’, saying:

Host 1:   Speaking of age-appropriate movies, this morning we want to know what
             movie you saw way before you should have.

Host 2:   Okay. Blue Lagoon.

Host 1:   Ohhhh… Yeah, that’s what we’re after this morning.

[7]  One caller phoned in and had the following exchange with the hosts:

Host 1:   What movie did you watch way before it was age appropriate? You know, the
             classics that you shouldn’t have been watching, that you knew you shouldn’t have
             been watching but you just did… Hi [name]... how old were you and what did you
             watch?

Caller:    Well I was babysitting, so early teens, twelve or thirteen sort of age, and The
             Exorcist while I was babysitting.

Hosts:    Woah! [sounding surprised]

[8]  We do not think that the broadcast contained any objectionable material, or that it could be said to have encouraged illegal behaviour or criminal activity. The item did not discuss the illegality of allowing children to watch restricted films. Rather, it consisted of light-hearted personal anecdotes offered by the hosts and listeners, which are standard fare for a radio breakfast show. The station’s adult target audience would not have taken the discussion as a serious encouragement to break the law by allowing young children to watch age-restricted films.

[9]  Accordingly, we decline to uphold the complaint.



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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Radich
Chair
15 July 2014

Appendix

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

1            Paul Martin’s formal complaint – 3 April 2014

2            MediaWorks’ response to the complaint – 6 May 2014

3            Mr Martin’s referral to the Authority – 6 May 2014

4            Mr Martin’s further comments – 13 May 2014

5            MediaWorks’ response to the Authority – 5 June 2014

6            Mr Martin’s final comment – 6 June 2014

7            MediaWorks’ final comment – 10 June 2014


See, for example, Keane and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2010-082.
Hunt and Māori Television, Decision No. 2009-010