During Paakiwaha, host Willie Jackson interviewed the Head of News and Current Affairs at Māori Television about the recent resignation of senior staff, among other things. Mihingarangi Forbes and Annabelle Lee, two of the individuals referred to, complained that the interview was unfair, inaccurate and unbalanced. The Authority upheld aspects of the accuracy complaint, as Mr Jackson claimed Ms Forbes leaked information to media (which was also unfair) and declined an invitation to appear on the programme, which was inaccurate. The Authority also found the item was unfair to Ms Forbes, Ms Lee and another former staff member as the discussion reflected negatively on their professional ability and they were not given a timely and relevant opportunity to respond or give comment. The Authority did not uphold the balance complaint as the interview did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance.
Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues
An item on ONE News covered the quarrying of a Dunedin landmark, Saddle Hill, and featured interviews with three people opposed to the quarrying. The reporter stated that quarry owner Calvin Fisher did not respond to his request for an interview, although an offer had been made to ‘replace the hill once the rock has been taken away’. TVNZ upheld Mr Fisher’s complaint, finding that insufficient attempts were made to contact Mr Fisher and the reporter unfairly represented that he was not willing to comment. TVNZ apologised in writing to Mr Fisher, removed the story from its website and discussed the upheld complaint with the reporter and management. However the Authority upheld Mr Fisher’s complaint that this action was insufficient to remedy the breach. The nature of the breach required further action from the broadcaster, such as a public acknowledgement or apology or a follow-up broadcast that included comment from Mr Fisher and/or an alternative perspective in support of the quarry.
Upheld: Action Taken (Fairness, Accuracy, Controversial Issues)
Order: Section 16(4) $750 costs to the Crown
Morning Report contained two items about the Government’s proposal for a specific criminal charge for family violence. A number of family violence experts were interviewed, and the introduction to one of the items stated that ‘14 women, six men and 10 children’ are killed by family violence annually. The Authority upheld a complaint that this statistic was inaccurate because the broadcaster’s source was significantly outdated, and it was part of the introduction which framed the discussion. However, the Authority did not uphold the aspect of the accuracy complaint that the items were misleading because they implied that men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators and women almost always victims of family violence. Additionally, the gender breakdown of victims and perpetrators of family violence was not the focus of the discussion in the items and so did not require the presentation of alternative views.
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues
Morning Report covered a story on kauri swamp logs that were allegedly being illegally exported to China. It reported that the company Oravida was one of the ‘kauri wholesalers’ involved. RNZ upheld a complaint from Oravida’s director that the broadcast was unfair as comment was not sought from Oravida. RNZ had removed the audio and written pieces that referred to Oravida and its director from its website, and two days later in a subsequent broadcast briefly reported Oravida’s position that it had never been involved in illegal trading. The Authority upheld the complaint that the action taken by RNZ in upholding the fairness complaint was insufficient and that the broadcast was also inaccurate. The Authority did not make any order noting that a full correction and apology was broadcast after the referral of the matter to this Authority.
Upheld: Fairness (Action Taken), Accuracy
An item on Seven Sharp featured the story of a terminally ill woman who is a long-standing voluntary euthanasia campaigner. The item also discussed the history of attempts to legalise voluntary euthanasia in New Zealand and overseas. The Authority upheld a complaint that the item lacked balance. The item did not solely approach voluntary euthanasia from the personal perspective of the interviewee. It included a wider discussion of the voluntary euthanasia debate and law reform that triggered the requirement for presentation of alternative views, which were not presented within the programme or within the period of current interest.
Upheld: Controversial Issues
3 News reported on a gun attack on a Tunisian beach resort, and showed amateur video footage of the event. The footage contained images of people shouting and running around in confusion, and gunshots and bomb blasts could be heard. The footage also showed the gunman lying in the street after he had been shot dead by police. The Authority upheld a complaint that this footage was disturbing and should have been preceded by a warning. While recognizing the high public interest in the story and the footage, viewers were not given a reasonable opportunity to exercise discretion because they were not adequately warned of its nature. The Authority did not make any order.
Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence
A promo for NCIS and NCIS: LA showed scenes of guns being fired, photos of a dead body and someone getting punched in the face, among other things. The Authority upheld a complaint that the broadcast did not adequately consider children’s interests. The content was not suitable for unsupervised child viewers, so the promo should have received a higher classification than G (for general audiences). On this basis the Authority found that the promo also breached the violence standard, as the broadcaster did not exercise adequate care and discretion when dealing with violent content.
Upheld: Children’s Interests, Violence
Order: Section 16(4) – $500 costs to the Crown
Campbell Live marked the fourth anniversary of the first Canterbury earthquake with a live broadcast from a Christchurch school hall where an audience of local residents with unresolved insurance claims participated in the programme. The Authority upheld a complaint that the broadcast breached the controversial issues and accuracy standards because the programme did not include the insurance industry’s perspective and was misleading about the industry’s willingness to participate in the programme.
Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy
Order: Section 13(1)(a) – broadcast statement
During KPMG Early Edition, the host read out an opinion piece criticising Israel’s actions in the Israel-Hamas conflict. She referred to a recent bombing of a UN school which ‘killed everyone inside’. The Authority upheld the complaint that this was inaccurate, as in fact 16 out of 3,300 people sheltering in the school were killed. It did not uphold the complaint other statements were inaccurate, as they were clearly the host’s opinion. The Authority did not make any order, as publication of this decision is sufficient to correct the error.
A Nine to Noon host interviewed Carmel Fisher, the founder and managing director of Fisher Funds Management Ltd, about her background and attitudes to business. At the end of the interview, she asked her about recent court action over a family will. A majority of the Authority upheld the complaint that a comment made by Ms Fisher about her role in the proceedings was inaccurate. The Authority unanimously declined to uphold the complaint that the programme was unfair. The Authority did not make any order.
Upheld by Majority: Accuracy
Not Upheld: Fairness
An item on 3 News which reported on a shooting massacre in a Kenyan Mall included footage of a man trying to hide, and then being shot at point blank range. The newsreader warned that the story contained ‘disturbing images’. The Authority upheld the complaint that this warning was inadequate to prepare viewers for witnessing a horrific execution. While recognising the very high public interest in the story and in the footage, viewers were not given a reasonable opportunity to exercise discretion or make a different viewing choice. The Authority did not make any order, as the decision provides sufficient guidance to broadcasters.
Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence
A discussion on Nine to Noon of New Zealand's 'three strikes' legislation, the Sentencing and Parole Reform Act 2010, was allegedly unbalanced because it involved only participants who opposed the legislation. In addition, the presenter and participants made statements that were alleged to be inaccurate, misleading, unfair and irresponsible. The broadcaster upheld part of the accuracy complaint but declined to uphold the other aspects of the complaint. The Authority considered that the item discussed a controversial issue of public importance and while the presenter alluded to the existence of other points of view, this did not go far enough – the broadcaster did not make reasonable efforts, or give reasonable opportunities, to present alternative viewpoints. The Authority also found that two aspects of the item were misleading in the absence of balancing or challenging comment.
Upheld: Balance, Accuracy
Not Upheld: Fairness, Responsible Programming
Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i)) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Nine to Noon – contained a discussion about the ‘three strikes’ legislation – involved only participants who opposed the legislation – allegedly unbalanced, inaccurate, unfair and irresponsible – broadcaster upheld part of the accuracy complaint but declined to uphold remaining aspects of the complaint
Standard 4 (controversial issues) – item discussed a controversial issue of public importance – while presenter alluded to the existence of other points of view, this did not go far enough – broadcaster did not make reasonable efforts, or give reasonable opportunities, to present alternative viewpoints – upheld
Standard 5 (accuracy) – two aspects of the item were misleading in the absence of balancing or challenging comment – broadcaster did not make reasonable efforts to ensure item did not mislead – upheld
This headnote does not form part of the decision.
An item on Breakfast, entitled “Daycare vs Homecare”, included an interview with the President of the Home Education Learning Organisation about the benefits of home-based childcare education as opposed to daycare. It contained comments by the President that reflected negatively on daycare. The Authority upheld the complaint that the item was unbalanced: it discussed a controversial issue of public importance and the interview was framed as a debate about the merits of daycare versus homecare, but the item itself had the flavour of an advertorial, and taking into account the likely audience, insufficient balance was provided and the broadcaster did not make reasonable efforts to present significant viewpoints.
The Authority made no order.
Upheld: Controversial Issues
A segment on 3 News: Firstline included an interview with a spokesperson from the Sensible Sentencing Trust regarding a proposed amendment to the Parole Act 2002. The spokesperson expressed her view that the amendment “did not go far enough” and that parole hearings should be abolished altogether. The Authority upheld the complaint that this breached the controversial issues standard: the item discussed a controversial issue of public importance, and while the presenter alluded to the existence of other points of view, this did not go far enough – the broadcaster accepted that it had not made reasonable efforts, or given reasonable opportunities, to present alternative viewpoints. The Authority did not find a breach of the accuracy and fairness standards: the statements amounted to comment and opinion and were therefore exempt from standards of accuracy, the item was not misleading, and parole board members, prisoners, and victims of crime were all treated fairly. The Authority made no order.
Upheld: Controversial Issues
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
Ip Man, a well-regarded movie about a martial arts legend, based on historical events, was broadcast in various timeslots during children’s viewing times. The broadcaster accepted that the movie was incorrectly classified ‘M’ when it should have been AO, and that it should have been broadcast in the AO time-band, not during children’s viewing times, but it nevertheless declined to uphold the complaint. The Authority upheld the complaint that the inappropriate classification and timeslots meant that the broadcast breached standards relating to responsible programming, children’s interests and violence. The Authority did not, however, uphold the complaint that it breached the good taste and decency, controversial issues, and discrimination and denigration standards: viewers would not have been surprised or offended by the content in the context of a martial arts movie; the movie was not a news, current affairs or factual programme so the controversial issues standard did not apply; the discrimination and denigration standard was not intended to prevent the broadcast of legitimate drama, and the movie did not encourage the denigration of, or discrimination against, a section of the community. The Authority made no order.
Upheld: Responsible Programming, Children’s Interests, Violence
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Controversial Issues, Discrimination and Denigration
C4 broadcast a programme called LMFAO Video Hits at 7pm, which included the music video for LMFAO’s song “Shots”. A complaint was made that the video contained coarse and sexually explicit language and liquor promotion. Given the dominance of liquor promotion in the video and the sexual messages conveyed, and the screening of the video during children’s viewing times, the Authority upheld the complaints about liquor promotion and children’s interests. (The issues of good taste and decency and responsible programming were subsumed into consideration of liquor and children’s interests.) The Authority declined to uphold the complaint about discrimination and denigration: while the song did refer to women, it did not carry the invective necessary to encourage denigration of women as a section of the community. The Authority made no order.
Upheld: Children’s Interests, Liquor
Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration
Subsumed: Good Taste and Decency, Responsible Programming
Criminal Minds. Storyline involved Alzheimer’s sufferer who was capturing, torturing and killing young women. Upheld (responsible programming, violence and good taste and decency). Not upheld (children’s interests). No order.
The storyline of an episode of Criminal Minds broadcast at 8.30pm involved a man with extensive burn injuries seeking revenge by burning his victims alive. The scenes showed the victims being splashed with petrol and set on fire. The Authority upheld the complaint that the episode breached standards relating to good taste and decency, responsible programming, and violence: the level of violence in an 8.30pm broadcast was unacceptable, despite the episode’s AO classification; the violence was explicit; and the programme was incorrectly classified, as the high degree of explicit violence and disturbing adult themes warranted an AO 9.30pm classification and later time of broadcast. The Authority made no order.
Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Responsible Programming, Violence
Breakfast. Presenter deliberately mispronounced the name of the Chief Minister of Delhi. Upheld (good taste and decency, fairness and discrimination and denigration): action taken. Not upheld (responsible programming). Orders (broadcast statement, $3,000 costs to Crown).
The Tiger’s Tail. Absence of warning before movie which contained rape scene. Upheld (violence). Not upheld (law and order). Subsumed (good taste and decency). No order.