BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Wakim and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2004-103

Members
  • Joanne Morris (Chair)
  • Diane Musgrave
  • Tapu Misa
  • Paul France
Dated
Complainant
  • David Wakim on behalf
Number
2004-103
Programme
Morning Report
Broadcaster
Radio New Zealand Ltd
Channel/Station
National Radio

Complaint under section 8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Morning Report – presenter allegedly implied that all of Jerusalem was located in Israel – allegedly inaccurate

Findings
Principle 6 (accuracy) – item did not imply that Jerusalem belonged to Israel – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Broadcast

[1] On Morning Report broadcast on National Radio on 15 March 2004 at approximately 7.15am, a news item was introduced as follows:

And now to Israel where at least nine people have been killed in a double suicide bombing at one of the country’s busiest ports earlier today.

Two Palestinian militant groups have claimed joint responsibility for the attack.

The Independent’s correspondent in Jerusalem, Eric Silva, joins us now.

Complaint

[2] On behalf of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, David Wakim complained to Radio New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, that the introduction was inaccurate. Mr Wakim stated:

Only West Jerusalem is in Israel, East Jerusalem is in Occupied Palestine. Jerusalem, by all international parameters, is a city shared by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

It is most important that accurate and truthful representations of issues of Israel/Palestine are reported as it perpetuates Israeli propaganda portraying parts of Palestine as belonging to Israel. To a huge number of people familiar with affairs in the Middle East this is a very grave error and amounts to distortion of the truth.

[3] Mr Wakim sought an on-air correction of the alleged inaccuracy, saying:

… otherwise it would seem there is a determination to maintain a purposeful imprecision which repeatedly obscures [the] legal status of Jerusalem.

Principle

[4] The relevant principle in the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice is Principle 6, which reads:

Principle 6

In the preparation and presentation of news and current affairs programmes, broadcasters are required to be truthful and accurate on points of fact.

Broadcaster's Response to the Complainant

[5] RNZ considered that there was nothing inaccurate in the introductory words of the item. RNZ also explained that its correspondent had gone on to explain that the bombings had occurred at Ashdod Port, which is in Israel.

Referral to the Authority

[6] Mr Wakim maintained that the introduction to the item was inaccurate. He submitted:

When a radio report is introduced with “And now to Israel …” followed a little later by the words “ … the Independent’s correspondent in Jerusalem, Eric Silva, joins us now …” the impression given is that ALL of Jerusalem is located in Israel. This is exactly the shorthand Israeli propagandists have promoted for years, so that the occupation of the other part of Jerusalem (Arab East) is overlooked or rendered invisible.

Broadcaster’s Response to the Authority

[7] RNZ observed that:

  • Ashdod Port is in Israel.
  • The correspondent was in Jerusalem.
  • RNZ did not say that Jerusalem was in Israel.

Authority's Determination

[8] 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.

[9] In the Authority’s view, the introduction to the item complained about was not inaccurate. The report conveyed that the correspondent referred to in the item was commenting from Jerusalem about an event which took place in Israel. The Authority recognises that care is required when reporting on events in the Middle East, and the importance of avoiding confusion about the political status of Jerusalem. However, the report which was complained about on this occasion did not explicitly or implicitly state that Jerusalem is in Israel. Accordingly, the Authority finds that Principle 6 is not breached.

 

For the above reasons the Authority does not uphold the complaint.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Joanne Morris
Chair
2 September 2004

Appendix

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

  1. David Wakim’s Formal Complaint to Radio New Zealand – 18 March 2004
  2. RNZ’s Response to the Formal Complaint – 14 April 2004
  3. Mr Wakim’s Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 26 April 2004
  4. RNZ’s Response to the Authority – 3 June 2004