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Latest Decisions

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


Crunkhorn and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-098 (16 February 2018)

An item on RNZ’s Midday Report bulletin reported on increases in the price of butter and dairy products, and the impact of this on small food businesses in particular. The item included the statement: ‘The demand for butter has soared worldwide since scientists debunked research linking animal fats with heart disease.’ The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this statement breached the balance and accuracy standards. The Authority found that, as the statement was peripheral to the focus of the item, the broadcaster was not required in the interests of balance to present alternate viewpoints on the statement, and the statement was unlikely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the item as a whole.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

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Lee and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-088 (16 February 2018)

A segment on Morning Report discussed one Auckland individual’s challenge to Auckland Council to open a discussion about removing or altering a monument to Colonel Marmaduke Nixon in Ōtāhuhu. The item briefly summarised Colonel Nixon’s role in colonialism and in the Waikato land wars, including the invasion of Rangiaowhia. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item lacked balance and was inaccurate in its account of the events at Rangiaowhia. The Authority found the item did not purport to provide a comprehensive examination of what occurred at Rangiaowhia. Rather, the item focused on one individual’s challenge to the Council to consider removing or altering the monument. In this context, it was not required in the interests of either balance or accuracy to present alternative accounts of the historical events. The Authority noted that, following the item, alternative viewpoints were nevertheless acknowledged in further online coverage by RNZ.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

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Sandbrook and Mediaworks Radio Ltd - 2017-096 (16 February 2018)

Warning: This decision contains language that some readers may find offensive.

The song ‘Fire Water Burn’ by the Bloodhound Gang was broadcast on The Rock FM at 5.45pm on 25 October 2017. The song contained the word ‘motherfucker’, which was partially censored, and also contained lyrics such as, ‘but if I crashed into Uranus I would stick it where the sun don't shine’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the song, in its edited format, breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority acknowledged that the censoring could have been more effective in disguising the word used, and that some of the lyrics may offend listeners. However, the Authority found overall the song did not reach the threshold for finding a breach of good taste and decency taking into account the context, including audience expectations of The Rock and rock songs, and the longstanding popularity of this particular song. Therefore limiting the right to freedom of expression was not justified in this case.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Stewart and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-093 (16 February 2018)

Warning: This decision contains language that some readers may find offensive.

During an episode of the crime thriller series Paula, one of the characters used the phrase ‘Jesus fucking Christ’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of this phrase in the context of the programme breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority acknowledged that many people may find this phrase offensive. However, taking into account the nature of the programme, the pre-broadcast warning for frequent use of coarse language, the Adults Only classification, the time of broadcast and audience expectations of the programme, the Authority did not consider the use of the phrase threatened community norms of taste and decency, or justified restricting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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Frewen and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2017-091 (16 February 2018)

An item on Newshub discussed revelations that the pension of New Zealand First Leader, Rt Hon Winston Peters, had been overpaid for up to seven years. The segment featured excerpts of a phone interview with Mr Peters, details about Mr Peters’ press release and subsequent comments made by Mr Peters about the overpayments. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast was unbalanced and unfair. The Authority did not consider that it was necessary to obtain a copy of the full phone interview transcript in order to determine whether the broadcast was inaccurate and unfair (as requested by the complainant). The Authority found Mr Peters’ view in response to the story was adequately presented in the broadcast, and neither the reporter’s comments nor the presentation of the phone interview in the item resulted in Mr Peters being treated unfairly.

Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness, Programme Information

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