The list below contains our recently published decisions, with the latest at the top.
A segment on Checkpoint featured an interview with former Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei. The interview occurred just after Ms Turei had announced her resignation as Co-Leader. John Campbell questioned Ms Turei about the recent allegations of benefit fraud which had recently arisen, the effect these allegations had on her and whether they ultimately led to her resignation. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the interview was unbalanced. While the subject matter amounted to a controversial issue of public importance, the Authority found alternate views were put forward through the use of ‘devil’s advocate’ questioning, and noted there was also considerable media coverage of the allegations, meaning there was a wide range of information available on the issue. The interview’s focus was Ms Turei’s response to the allegations, and as a whole would not have left the audience misinformed regarding the nature of the allegations and Ms Turei’s position.
Not Upheld: Balance
During a Gospel Hour programme on Radio Voqa Kei Viti Aotearoa, a Fijian language station, the announcer used the term ‘iTaukei’ in her greetings to listeners, which the broadcaster submitted referred to the indigenous Fijian population in New Zealand and elsewhere overseas. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the term ‘iTaukei’ meant ‘owner’ in English (and therefore referred to New Zealand Māori), and that use of this term caused division and unrest amongst the station’s Fijian listeners. The Authority found that, while the announcer’s use of the term may be seen by some as divisive and politically-charged, it was not offensive, incorrect or discriminatory to an extent that would justify the Authority intervening and finding a breach of broadcasting standards, and as a result limiting the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression. The Authority however reminded the broadcaster of its obligations under the Broadcasting Act 1989 to receive and consider formal complaints through a proper process, which did not occur in this case.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order, Programme Information, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy, Privacy, Fairness
During The Edge’s afternoon show Jono, Ben & Sharyn, host Jono Pryor referred to a particular television channel as ‘the wanker channel’. A complaint was made that Mr Pryor’s use of the term ‘wanker’ was inappropriate and offensive. The Authority found that, taking into account relevant contextual factors including The Edge’s target audience, audience expectations of Jono, Ben & Sharyn and the nature of the explicit language used, the comment did not reach the threshold required to justify limiting the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests
An item on Seven Sharp discussed the UK’s move to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, to encourage the use electric vehicles (EVs). Following the item, presenter Mike Hosking outlined the ‘hurdles’ to be overcome before a similar move could be made in New Zealand, stating that there was ‘no charging network’ in New Zealand and that the cost of EVs was ‘too high’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Mr Hosking’s statements were inaccurate and misleading. Noting that the accuracy standard does not apply to statements of analysis, comment or opinion, the Authority found that, in this case, Mr Hosking’s statements on the cost-effectiveness of EVs, and the lack of charging network in New Zealand, represented his own opinion and analysis on the topic, which viewers would not have expected to be authoritative. While the complainant may have disagreed with Mr Hosking’s views, the Authority found that these were opinions which were open to Mr Hosking to express, noting that the free and frank expression of opinions is an important aspect of the right to freedom of expression.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
An interview was broadcast on Afternoons with Wendyl Nissen with a journalist, about an article she had written regarding the upcoming perjury trial of the secret witnesses who testified in David Tamihere’s murder trial. During the interview the journalist discussed the discovery of one victim’s body, saying, ‘you think of a body turning up… it’s really… bones. The trampers who found [the] body actually stepped on it before they saw it.’ Ms Nissen replied: ‘So there was a crunch’, adding, ‘– sorry to be disgusting’. A complaint was made that this comment was ‘disgusting, disrespectful’ and ‘in poor taste’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the good taste and decency standard, finding that Ms Nissen’s immediate apology after the comment, and other contextual factors, mitigated any potential harm or distress caused by the comment, and it did not reach the high threshold necessary to find a breach of the good taste and decency standard.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency