BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Miller and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2011-007

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
  • Stephen Miller
Promo for Liam
TV One

Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Promo for Liam – promo for AO-classified film broadcast during G-rated cooking show – allegedly in breach of standards relating to good taste and decency, responsible programming, and children’s interests

Standard 1 (good taste and decency), Standard 8 (responsible programming) and Standard 9 (children’s interests) – promo was correctly classified – broadcaster adequately considered interests of child viewers – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision. 


[1]   A promo for the AO-rated film Liam was broadcast on TV One on Thursday 18 November 2010 during Masterchef Australia, a reality cooking show which was rated G and screened at 4.55pm. The 33-second promo consisted of a montage of scenes involving a young boy. In one of the scenes, the boy opened a door and found a woman standing naked next to a bathtub, her hands covering her breasts and genitals, as she yelled, “Go away!”


[2]   Stephen Miller made a formal complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that the promo breached broadcasting standards. The complainant argued that footage of a “full nude woman” was “inappropriate” for broadcast during children’s viewing times.


[3]   Standards 1, 8 and 9 and guidelines 8b and 9a of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice are relevant to the determination of this complaint. These provide:

Standard 1 Good Taste and Decency

Broadcasters should observe standards of good taste and decency.

Standard 8 Responsible Programming

Broadcasters should ensure that programme information and content is socially responsible.

Guideline 8b   

All promos (including promos for news and current affairs) should be classified to comply with the “host programme” (the programme in which they screen):

  • Promos for AO programmes shown outside AO time should comply with the classification of the host programme;
Standard 9 Children’s Interests

During children’s normally accepted viewing times (see Appendix 1), broadcasters should consider the interests of child viewers.

Guideline 9a

Broadcasters should be mindful of the effect any programme or promo may have on children during their normally accepted viewing times – usually up to 8.30pm – and avoid screening material that would disturb or alarm them.

Broadcaster’s Response to the Complainant

[4]   TVNZ stated that broadcasters are permitted to screen promos for AO-rated programmes in G and PGR-rated programming, provided the promo’s content was consistent with that rating. It noted the Authority’s previous ruling that a promo containing nudity screened during G and PGR time did not breach broadcasting standards.1  TVNZ argued that the Liam promo was correctly classified and scheduled to screen during a G-rated host programme. The promo did not contain any “explicit” material that would have disturbed or alarmed child viewers, it argued.

[5]   TVNZ concluded that children’s interests had been adequately considered and it therefore declined to uphold the complaint.

Referral to the Authority

[6]   Dissatisfied with TVNZ’s response, Mr Miller referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

[7]   The complainant argued that the promo breached Standards 1 (good taste and decency), 8 (responsible programming) and 9 (children’s interests). He maintained that the promo was inappropriate for broadcast at a time when children could be watching.

Authority’s Determination

[8]   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.

Standard 1 (good taste and decency), Standard 8 (responsible programming) and Standard 9 (children’s

[9]   When we consider an alleged breach of good taste and decency, we take into account the context of the broadcast. On this occasion, the relevant contextual factors include:

  • the promo was broadcast during children’s normally accepted viewing times
  • it was broadcast during Masterchef Australia, which was classified G.

[10]   The promo subject to complaint depicted the actions of a naughty young boy who walked in on a woman standing naked next to a bathtub, with her hands covering her breasts and genitals. The footage did not contain any nudity.

[11]   We note that guideline 8b of the responsible programming standard states that promos must be classified to comply with the host programme in which they screen. Masterchef Australia was rated G, so to determine that the promo was incorrectly classified in breach of Standard 8, we would have to make a finding that the promo contained material which went beyond its G rating, and which warranted a PGR classification. The G and PGR classifications are defined in Appendix 1 to the Code as follows:

G – General

Programmes which exclude material likely to be unsuitable for children.  Programmes may not necessarily be designed for child viewers but should not contain material likely to alarm or distress them.

PGR – Parental Guidance Recommended

Programmes containing material more suited for mature audiences but not necessarily unsuitable for child viewers when subject to the guidance of a parent or an adult.

[12]   As noted above, the woman’s breasts and genitals were obscured by her hands. The footage complained of was fleeting, inexplicit and non-sexual. In our view, the promo would not have distressed or alarmed child viewers, and we do not consider that it required adult supervision. We therefore find that it was correctly classified G.  

[13]   Having reached the conclusion that the promo was correctly classified and did not contain anything that would have distressed or alarmed children, we also find that TVNZ adequately considered the interests of child viewers when broadcasting it during Masterchef Australia.

[14]   Taking the above contextual factors into account, we decline to uphold the complaint that the promo breached Standards 1, 8 or 9.


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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Peter Radich
29 March 2011


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

1                  Stephen Miller’s formal complaint – 18 November 2010

2                 TVNZ’s response to the complaint – 13 December 2010

3                 Mr Miller’s referral to the Authority – 30 December 2010

4                 TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 10 February 2011

1Hutchings and TVNZ, Decision No. 1999-020