BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Porter and The Radio Network Ltd - 2005-107

  • Joanne Morris (Chair)
  • Diane Musgrave
  • Tapu Misa
  • Paul France
  • Gaile Porter
Newstalk ZB

Complaint under section 8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Newstalk ZB – film review – reviewer used words “she doesn’t get my balls going” – allegedly offensive

Principle 1 (good taste and decency) – context – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


[1] A film reviewer on Newstalk ZB said of an actor “she doesn’t get my balls going”. The review was broadcast during the Saturday morning Mike Hosking show at 9.45am on 16 July 2005.


[2] Gaile Porter complained to The Radio Network Ltd, the broadcaster, that the language was inappropriate at a time when her grandchildren were listening. She said the phrase, which was broadcast twice, was offensive.


[3] TRN assessed the complaint under Principle 1 of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice. It reads:

Principle 1

In programmes and their presentation, broadcasters are required to maintain standards which are consistent with the observance of good taste and decency.

Broadcaster's Response to the Complainant

[4] Noting that it did not condone bad language, TRN said that the word “balls” was at the lower end of the scale in terms of unacceptability. Pointing to the context of its use during a film review, and the station’s adult target audience, it declined to uphold the complaint.

Referral to the Authority

[5] Dissatisfied with TRN’s response, Ms Porter referred her complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

[6] Ms Porter acknowledged that the word “balls” was not indecent on its own, but argued that its use during the broadcast was “sleazy” and unacceptable. She said that she had never heard the expression previously, and doubted the relevance of the broadcaster’s reference to an adult target audience as, in her view, nearly all radio broadcasts were aimed at adults.

Authority's Determination

[7] The members of the Authority have listened to a tape of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix. The Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

[8] When it determines a complaint which contends that a programme breached the good taste and decency standard, the Authority is required to take into consideration the context of the broadcast. On this occasion, the Authority has taken into account the adult target audience, the mild nature of the language used, and the manner of delivery, which was matter-of-fact rather than deliberately provocative. For these reasons, the Authority considers that the standard was not breached.


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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Joanne Morris
1 November 2005


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

  1. Gaile Porter’s complaint to The Radio Network Ltd – 18 July 2005
  2. TRN’s response to Ms Porter – 16 August 2005
  3. Ms Porter’s referral to the Authority – 9 September 2005
  4. TRN’s Response to the Authority – 15 September 2005