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Latest Decisions

The list below contains our recently published decisions, with the latest at the top. 

BL and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2017-025 (9 August 2017)

During Jay-Jay, Dom & Randell, the hosts discussed their conversation with a guest the previous day who was described as a successful voice coach, and who gave tips about putting on a ‘sexy voice’. One of the hosts prank called two phone sex chat lines and spoke to the operators to see whether they used a ‘sexy voice’. One of the operators he spoke with was the complainant, who discussed practical aspects of the service, including how calls were conducted and paid for. A distinctive sound could be heard in the background of the call. The Authority upheld a complaint from the operator that this broadcast breached her privacy and was unfair. The combination of the extended audio of the complainant’s voice and the background sounds meant that she could be identified by people beyond family and close friends who would reasonably be expected to know about her phone sex chat line business. The complainant was also unaware she was being recorded and did not consent to the broadcast of this information. This resulted in a breach of her privacy and was also unfair. The Authority did not uphold the remaining aspects of BL’s complaint.

Upheld: Privacy, Fairness

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Balance, Accuracy

Orders: $2,000 privacy compensation; $1,500 costs to the Crown

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Holland and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-048 (9 August 2017)

The AM Show contained a number of items about Labour Party candidate Willie Jackson’s position on the recently released Labour Party candidate List (the List), and featured interviews with Labour Party leader Andrew Little and Willie Jackson. It was reported several times that Mr Jackson was disappointed with his position of 21 on the List, as Mr Little had ‘promised’ Mr Jackson a top-10 position. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this was inaccurate and unfair. The segments amounted to robust political expression, which is of particular importance in the lead-up to a general election, and carried high value in terms of the right to freedom of expression. Viewers were likely to have understood the comments as political speculation, rather than definitive statements of fact, which is common in the context of political reporting. The audience was provided with ample information on the issue, including Mr Little’s and Mr Jackson’s viewpoints in response. Therefore viewers would have been able to form their own informed opinion on the issue and would not have been misled. Mr Little and Mr Jackson were given extensive opportunities to comment and could reasonably expect scrutiny in relation to their public roles as politicians, so they were not treated unfairly.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

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Keane and Radio New Zealand - 2017-054 (9 August 2017)

An item on Morning Report featured an interview with the manager of teacher practice at the Education Council. The interview discussed the Council’s drug testing of teachers and its ‘zero tolerance’ approach to cannabis use, and referred to a recent finding of misconduct against a New Zealand teacher who refused to undergo a drug test. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item ‘pushed’ marijuana use by teachers. The item did not promote the use of illegal drugs or condone the behaviour of the teacher referred to. Rather, it offered a robust examination of the Council’s methods of drug testing teachers and its ‘zero tolerance’ approach to cannabis use. In this context the item did not encourage listeners to use illegal drugs or otherwise undermine law and order. The item also did not contain any material which had the potential to adversely affect any child listeners.

Not Upheld: Law and Order, Children’s Interests

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Right to Life New Zealand and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-052 (9 August 2017)

An item on The Nation examined the arguments of those in support of amending the legislation governing abortions in New Zealand. The item included interviews with women who had been through the process of obtaining an abortion, and featured comments from various other advocates for changing the law. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this item was unbalanced because it did not include arguments opposed to the law change and decriminalising abortion in New Zealand. While the item discussed a controversial issue of public importance (triggering the requirements of the balance standard), it was narrowly focused on technical aspects of the current law governing how abortions are administered in New Zealand, and clearly approached the topic from the perspective of those in support of changes to the process for obtaining an abortion. The item did not examine the moral and ethical reasons for and against abortion itself, but rather the legislation which governs the process of procuring an abortion. As such, viewers would not have expected to be presented with the full range of views on abortion, including moral reasons against decriminalising abortion. 

Not Upheld: Balance

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Sanders and Apna Networks Ltd - 2017-017 (9 August 2017)

Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai (Say… You’re in Love), a Bollywood romantic thriller film, was broadcast on free-to-air television channel APNA TV between 3pm and 6pm. The film featured action scenes containing violence. The Authority upheld a complaint that the film breached a number of broadcasting standards. The film was broadcast unclassified and with an incorrect programme description, which meant audiences were unable to make an informed viewing choice and were unable to regulate their own, and their children’s, viewing behaviour. The film’s inclusion of violent imagery such as beatings, shoot-outs, murder and dead bodies, and the visual depiction of these acts occurring onscreen, warranted an AO classification and later time of broadcast on free-to-air television. The film’s content would have been outside audience expectations of the programme, and child viewers, who were likely to be watching at the time of broadcast, were unable to be protected from material that had the potential to adversely affect them. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the law and order standard.

Upheld: Programme Information, Children’s Interests, Good Taste and Decency, Violence; Not Upheld: Law and Order

Orders: Section 13(1)(a) broadcast statement; section 16(4) costs to the Crown $1,500

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