The list below contains our recently published decisions, with the latest at the top.
An episode of the satirical series Go Ahead Caller, in which host Ken Oath ‘equates our majority government with those in some other countries where socialism failed’, featured a phone call from a fictional caller, who used the word ‘shit’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast and the use of this word breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found that the use of the word complained about was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress, in the context of the broadcast. The Authority also found that, given the satirical nature of the programme and audience expectations, the broadcast did not threaten community norms of good taste and decency, or justify restricting freedom of expression.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
During an interview on Breakfast, presenter Hilary Barry and Hon Julie Anne Genter, Minister for Women, discussed the gender pay gap in New Zealand, the Minister’s views on possible causes of the pay gap, and what the Government intended to do to close the gap in the public and private sectors. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the discussion was unbalanced because it did not present alternative perspectives on the existence of the gender pay gap, or its causes. The Authority did not consider the item amounted to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance, noting there is evidence available that the gender pay gap exists, and the item did not purport to be an in-depth examination of the causes. The interview was also clearly presented from the perspective of the Minister for Women, advocating for women’s interests. In this context viewers would not have expected to receive countering views, and the omission of an ‘anti-feminist’ or ‘men’s rights’ perspective did not result in a breach of the balance standard.
Not Upheld: Balance
An item on Seven Sharp discussed the case of a woman and an offensive message which was sent to her by a City Councillor. The road sign which was captured in the message read, ‘Jesus is cuming… open your mouth’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that showing the road sign during the segment was potentially offensive to Christians, in breach of the good taste and decency standard. The Authority acknowledged that people may find the wording of the sign offensive. However, taking into account relevant contextual factors, including the nature of the programme, the relevance of the sign to the subject matter of the item, signposting of the lewd nature of the sign, and audience expectations of Seven Sharp, 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
Allan Golden complained about two segments broadcast on RNZ’s Morning Report and Nine to Noon programmes. The Authority declined jurisdiction to accept and consider the complaints. The Authority found it was open to the broadcaster to not accept these as valid formal complaints, on the grounds the complaints were based on the complainant’s own opinions of what the broadcasts should include, rather than raising issues of broadcasting standards.
A segment on Nine to Noon featured an interview with Massey Professor Paul Spoonley, titled ‘The changing face of NZ’. The interview discussed increasing diversity in New Zealand and projections for population growth, as suggested by recent data released by Statistics New Zealand. During the interview, presenter Kathryn Ryan commented, ‘it’s also in some ways the argument for immigration, isn’t it, because you’re going to need workers, you’re going to need tax payers, especially as that baby boomer demographic retires, we know there’s some big issues coming up there’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this comment breached the accuracy standard, finding the comment was not a statement of fact to which the standard applied, and it would not have materially affected the audience’s understanding of the interview as a whole.
Not Upheld: Accuracy