The list below contains our recently published decisions, with the latest at the top.
An item on Checkpoint discussed the return of a child after she went missing off the coast of New Zealand with her father. Extensive media coverage reported that the pair had sailed to Australia on a catamaran and that the family was involved in a custody dispute, with proceedings pending under the Care of Children Act 2004. The item aired after the child had been located and featured an interview with the child’s mother, who discussed her fears for her daughter’s safety, and their reunion. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this item breached the child’s privacy and treated her unfairly. The information discussed during the interview was in the public domain at the time of broadcast, and the topic was treated sensitively and respectfully by the interviewer. There was also an element of public interest in the child’s welfare and her being found safe. A number of other broadcasting standards raised by the complainant were not applicable or not breached in the context of the broadcast.
Not Upheld: Privacy, Fairness, Balance, Good Taste and Decency, Programme Information, Children’s Interests, Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy
An item on RNZ News reported on the Voluntary Euthanasia Society NZ’s (VES) calls for government action following a recently published study that indicated strong public support for some form of lawful assisted dying. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this item inaccurately reported the findings of the study, and lacked balance. This was a short news report which accurately conveyed the key findings of the study to the listener. In the context of the item, it was not practical or necessary to convey the detailed nuances of the study’s findings. While the item touched on the broader issue of euthanasia, it simply reported on the findings of the study and did not amount to a discussion of the wider issue which triggered the requirements of the balance standard.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance
An item on Nine to Noon featured an interview with the CEO of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. The Authority declined jurisdiction to accept and consider a complaint that this interview did not address issues of corruption within the Fund, finding the complaint raised matters of editorial discretion and personal preference rather than broadcasting standards, and the broadcaster was therefore correct to not accept it as a valid formal complaint.
An episode of Friends featured Rachel discussing a dream in which she and Chandler had sex, and later telling the group she had a dream about her, Chandler and Joey. Monica was dating Ethan, who claimed to be a senior in college and revealed that he was a virgin. The couple were shown kissing on the couch and then lying in bed together, when it was revealed that Ethan was in fact a senior at high school. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this episode breached the good taste and decency standard by containing sexual material unsuitable for children at the broadcast time of 4.30pm. Any visual sexual content was implied and verbal references to sex amounted to innuendo which was unlikely to be understood or imitated by younger viewers. While the Authority acknowledged that this was the first instance of this particular episode being broadcast at 4.30pm, it considered the low-level sexual content of the episode did not go beyond well-established audience expectations of the programme and did not threaten current norms of good taste and decency.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
Four items on Newshub featured stories related to the United Kingdom and/or the British Royal Family. The Authority did not uphold complaints that the Newshub items and the reporters’ comments were biased, unfair and derogatory towards the United Kingdom and/or members of the British Royal Family. The Authority found that the news reports did not contain any material which discriminated against or denigrated any section of the community, or which could be said to be unfair to members of the British Royal Family. The items also did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance which triggered the requirement for balancing perspectives to be given, and did not raise accuracy or programme information issues.
Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness, Balance, Accuracy, Programme Information