BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Wyatt and TVWorks Ltd - 2010-081

Members
  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Tapu Misa
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
Dated
Complainant
  • Trudy Wyatt
Number
2010-081
Programme
Target
Broadcaster
TVWorks Ltd
Channel/Station
TV3 # 3

Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Target – hidden camera trial of video game retailers – actors aged 16, 14 and 12 years attempted to buy R18 video game – allegedly in breach of accuracy standard

Findings
Standard 5 (accuracy) – viewers saw the hidden camera footage – no evidence to suggest item was inaccurate or misleading – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


Broadcast

[1]   During an episode of Target, broadcast on TV3 at 7.30pm on 29 June 2010, the presenter summarised the results of a hidden camera trial in which actors aged 16, 14 and 12 years attempted to buy a video game which had an R18 classification. A number of retailers refused sale without proof of age, while others proceeded with the sale and swiped the actors’ eftpos cards. The actors’ eftpos cards were doctored so that they would decline, in order to prevent Target breaking the law.

Complaint

[2]   Trudy Wyatt made a formal complaint to TVWorks Ltd, the broadcaster, alleging that the hidden camera segment breached the accuracy standard because the presenter referred to a shop being “willing to sell an R18 game to a minor”. Ms Wyatt submitted that Target had no proof that the shop was willing to do this because “the shop worker may have seen the hidden camera on the Target actor and knew it was a set-up so the shop worker may have known the card will be declined”.

Standards

[3]   Ms Wyatt nominated Standard 5 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice in her complaint. It provides:

Standard 5 Accuracy

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/or

• does not mislead.

Broadcaster's Response to the Complainant

[4]   TVWorks noted that Ms Wyatt had not specified which shop she was concerned about, but argued that “in all cases the sales people swiped the actor’s card and it’s a fair and accurate view that this would have constituted a sale had the eftpos card not declined”. Further, it said, all of the retailers shown were contacted for comment after they were filmed and “none of them responded confirming the hypothetical situation [the complainant suggested]”. It therefore concluded that the programme was accurate and it declined to uphold the Standard 5 complaint.

Referral to the Authority

[5]   Dissatisfied with the broadcaster’s response, Ms Wyatt referred her complaint to the Authority under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

Authority's Determination

[6]   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.

[7]   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. Ms Wyatt argued that Target had no proof that the shop assistants were “willing to sell” R18 games to minors because they may have realised that they were being set up.

[8]   In our view, there is no evidence to suggest that the results of the hidden camera trial were inaccurate or misleading. Viewers were able to see the footage in the programme of the shop assistants involved in the trial. We agree with TVWorks that the point being made was that some retailers were willing to proceed with the sale without asking for identification, and that had the actors’ eftpos cards not been doctored the sales would have been completed.

[9]   Accordingly, we find that the programme was accurate and would not have misled viewers in the manner alleged by the complainant. We decline to uphold the Standard 5 complaint.

 

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Radich
Chair
14 September 2010

Appendix

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

1.           Trudy Wyatt’s formal complaint – 6 July 2010

2.          TVWorks’ response to the complaint – 7 July 2010

3.          Ms Wyatt’s referral to the Authority – 7 July 2010

4.          TVWorks’ response to the Authority – 13 and 16 July 2010