BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Wignall and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-034

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Paula Rose
  • Russell Wignall
The Nation
MediaWorks TV Ltd
TV3 # 4

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

The Nation presenters wore poppy pins while they reported on ANZAC Day commemorations. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the removal of the RSA ribbon from the pins offended current norms of good taste and decency and was misleading. While it may have upset some viewers, this was a matter of editorial discretion rather than an issue of broadcasting standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Accuracy


[1]  The Nation presenters wore poppy pins while they reported on ANZAC Day commemorations. The RSA ribbon had been removed from the pins.

[2]  Russell Wignall found this offensive because he considered that altering the poppy by removing the RSA ribbon was, in effect, defacing it.

[3]  The issue is whether the broadcast breached the good taste and decency and accuracy standards of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[4]  The item was broadcast on TV3 on 25 April 2015. The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Did the programme breach broadcasting standards?

[5]  The good taste and decency standard (Standard 1) is primarily aimed at broadcasts containing sexual material, nudity, coarse language or violence.1 The Authority will also consider the standard in relation to any broadcast that portrays or discusses material in a way that is likely to cause offence or distress.2 The accuracy standard (Standard 5) states that broadcasters should make reasonable efforts to ensure that news, current affairs and factual programming is accurate in relation to all material points of fact, and does not mislead.

[6]  Russell Wignall argued that it was 'disingenuous' of the presenters 'to wear the poppy without it being intact'. He said the poppy is 'not a fashion accessory, particularly at this auspicious occasion'. Mr Wignall is a veteran and considered that altering the poppy was offensive and inconsistent with norms of good taste and decency.

[7]  MediaWorks said it had advised the Executive Producer of The Nation of Mr Wignall's concerns, but did not consider that the removal of the RSA ribbon breached standards.

[8]  In our view, the decision to remove the RSA ribbon from the ANZAC poppy pins worn by the presenters was an editorial choice rather than a broadcasting standards issue. We do not think the programme makers would have intended to offend or upset anybody.

[9]  Taking into account the context of the broadcast, we do not consider that it threatened current norms of good taste and decency, or would have misled viewers. The purpose of the broadcast was to cover ANZAC Day commemorations and the tone of the programme overall was duly respectful and sensitive, in our view.

[10]  Accordingly we decline to uphold the complaint under Standards 1 and 5.

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority



Peter Radich
25 August 2015



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

1      Russell Wignall's formal complaint – 25 April 2015
2      MediaWorks' response to the complaint – 26 May 2015
3      Mr Wignall's referral to the Authority – 26 May 2015
4      MediaWorks' response to the Authority – 25 June 2015



1 Turner and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2008-112

2Practice Note: Good Taste and Decency (Broadcasting Standards Authority, November 2006)