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Decisions
Barclay and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2019-003 (20 May 2019)
2019-003

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an interviewee’s language, broadcast during an item on Morning Report on 10 December 2018, was violent and inappropriate. The item reported on the declining memberships of sports clubs in New Zealand and featured an interview with the Club Captain of a tennis club. The interviewee commented that the tennis courts were so empty ‘you could… fire a machine gun and hit no one.’ The Authority noted that the right to freedom of expression allows individuals to express themselves in their own words, provided this does not cause undue harm. In this case, the comment made by the interviewee was brief, was not overly graphic or targeted at a particular individual or group, and was not intended to be taken literally. Taking into account contextual factors, such as the adult target audience of Morning Report and RNZ National, the broadcast was unlikely to unduly distress or disturb listeners, or any children that might have been listening, and was not so graphic as to require an audience advisory for violent content.

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

Decisions
Truijens and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2019-012 (7 May 2019)
2019-012

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an interview on The Weekend, which covered various aspects of racism in Canada, breached the good taste and decency and discrimination and denigration standards. The Authority found that the interviewee’s use of ‘goddamn’ as an expletive was unlikely to undermine or violate widely shared community norms. Further, the interviewee’s reference to the colonial treatment of Canada’s indigenous people did not breach the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority found that the comments did not apply to a recognised section of the community consistent with the grounds for discrimination listed in the Human Rights Act 1993. The Authority therefore found any restriction on the right to freedom of expression would be unjustified.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Evans and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-092 (24 April 2019)
2018-092

The Authority has upheld a complaint about a broadcast of The DailyMail TV, finding that footage broadcast during the programme was inappropriate for the PGR classification and time of broadcast, and required an audience advisory for disturbing content. The programme was broadcast at 3.30pm on a weekday, and featured partially censored footage of an American stabbing victim in the moments before she died. While the woman’s injuries were blurred, her distressed facial expression and blood splatters on the floor were visible. A second story featured censored footage of two 19-year-old women who claimed they had been drugged, filmed inside a bar naked and allegedly performing sex acts. The Authority found that this content went beyond what could be expected from a PGR-classified programme broadcast during children’s normally accepted viewing times and that the programme should have been classified AO – Adults Only. Further, the sexual material and disturbing nature of these stories required an audience advisory.

Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests

Order: Section 16(4) – $1,000 costs to the Crown

Decisions
Kavanagh and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2019-001 (2 April 2019)
2019-001

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a segment on The AM Show, in which a booth designed to enable doctors to perform discrete testicle examinations was likened to a ‘confession booth’, breached the good taste and decency and discrimination and denigration standards. The Authority found that, in the context of the segment, the comparison was unlikely to undermine or violate widely shared community norms. It also did not reach the level of malice or nastiness necessary to denigrate a section of the community. The public health message in the broadcast was an important one and overall the Authority found that any potential for harm did not justify a restriction on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Day & Moss and NZME Radio Ltd - 2018-090 (2 April 2019)
2018-090

Two complaints about Heather du Plessis-Allan’s use of the term ‘leeches’ to describe the Pacific Islands during Wellington Mornings with Heather du Plessis-Allan were upheld, under both the good taste and decency and discrimination and denigration standards. The Authority recognised the important role talkback radio plays in fostering open discourse and debate in society. However, the Authority found Ms du Plessis-Allan’s comments went beyond what is acceptable in a talkback environment, considering the use of language that was inflammatory, devalued the reputation of Pasifika people within New Zealand and had the potential to cause widespread offence and distress.  

Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Not Upheld: Children’s Interests, Law and Order, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

Orders: Section 13(1)(a) broadcast statement; Section16(4) – $3,000 costs to the Crown

Decisions
Barnao and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-002 (2 April 2019)
2019-002

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

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has not upheld a complaint that an episode of 7 Days, in which a panellist said an Australian Santa would say ‘G’day cunts’, breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority acknowledged that the language was coarse and may have offended some viewers. However, taking into account relevant contextual factors including the nature of the programme, which is targeted at adults, audience expectations, the Adults Only classification, the warning for ‘bad’ language at the beginning of the programme, and the time of broadcast, the Authority found that any potential for harm did not justify a restriction on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Ngapo & Tolungamaka and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-099 (13 March 2019)
2018-099

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about episodes of Shortland Street, which followed the ongoing storyline of a threesome between a married couple and their nanny. The Authority acknowledged that some viewers might find this storyline distasteful and that some scenes and references might have raised questions for children. However, the Authority found that various contextual factors, including audience expectations of the long-running television drama and a warning for sexual material, prepared audiences for the likely content and minimised the potential for undue harm. The sexual material and references contained in these episodes were relatively inexplicit, with no nudity or sexual activity beyond kissing shown. Finally, the fictional sexual activity took place between consenting adults and no illegal or seriously antisocial activity was portrayed during the programme. The Authority therefore found no grounds to justify restricting the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order

Decisions
Taylor and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-106 (26 February 2019)
2018-106

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an episode of Breakfast, in which the phrase ‘he rooted my missus’ was read out on air, breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found that while the phrase was coarse and may have offended some viewers, the term ‘rooted’ was unlikely to undermine or violate widely shared community norms. Overall, the Authority found that any potential for harm did not justify a restriction on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Keeley and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-094 (4 February 2019)
2018-094

During an episode of Seven Sharp the presenter Hilary Barry welcomed a temporary presenter, Matt Chisholm, who responded by saying ‘it’s bloody good to be here’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the word ‘bloody’ breached the good taste and decency standard, finding the use of the term in the context of this programme was not inappropriate or unnecessary. The Authority has consistently found this expression to be colloquial language commonly used as an exclamation in our society. The Authority noted that Seven Sharp is aimed at adult viewers and the expression was not intended to be aggressive or pejorative. Overall, the Authority found that any potential for harm by the use of this term did not justify a restriction on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Bartlett and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-093 (4 February 2019)
2018-093

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

During an interview on Breakfast about a proposed cull of Himalayan tahr, the Minister of Conservation, Hon Eugenie Sage, appeared to use the word ‘cunters’ when referring to the educational effort undertaken by tahr hunters. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the Minister’s use of this word during this interview breached the good taste and decency and discrimination and denigration standards. The use of the word was an accidental slip of the tongue and it was clear that the Minister intended to refer to ‘hunters’ during this section of the interview. The use of the word was not deliberate nor was it used with any malice or invective. The Minister herself acknowledged that she could have enunciated the word ‘hunters’ more clearly during the interview and apologised for any offence it caused. Overall, the Authority found that the use of this term, in the particular context, did not meet the threshold tests for breach of the relevant standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Avery and NZME Radio Ltd - 2018-076 (16 January 2019)
2018-076

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

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about the broadcast of the song ‘Hurricane’ by Bob Dylan, which contained the words: ‘And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger’ [emphasis added], on Coast FM. The complainant found the use of the word in question to be ‘offensive, racist and unacceptable’. The Authority acknowledged the power of the word and that its use is highly contentious in New Zealand. The Authority acknowledged that its role is to reflect community standards and noted that its recent research, Language That May Offend in Broadcasting, showed a significant portion of the public find the use of this word in broadcasting to be unacceptable. However, the Authority also recognised the importance of context in determining whether a broadcast has breached broadcasting standards. In this case, it took into account well‑established audience expectations of Coast FM, the historical and social significance of the song and Bob Dylan as an artist, and the use of the word in the narrative of a 1970s political protest song. Taking these contextual factors into account, the Authority found that the broadcast of the word in this song was justified on this occasion.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Hendry and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2018-084 (18 December 2018)
2018-084

A complaint about comments, made by contestants about a landscaper during an episode of The Block, was not upheld. During the episode, a new landscaper started work on the property of contestants, Chlo and Em. Em referred to the landscaper and said, ‘Who’s that new meat on The Block? Come over.’ Chlo then said ‘Some fresh meat for Em’. The complainant submitted the references to the landscaper as ‘meat’ were sexist, unacceptable and amounted to sexual harassment. The Authority highlighted the importance of context when considering whether comments of a sexual nature have breached broadcasting standards. The Authority noted that, in some contexts, these comments could be considered to be inappropriate. In this case, however, the comments did not go beyond audience expectations of The Block. They were not explicit or graphic, nor were the comments made with malice or nastiness. The Authority also did not uphold the complaint under the discrimination and denigration standard, finding the comments did not contain any malice or invective.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Sarah and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-079 (27 November 2018)
2018-079

During an episode of Shortland Street, characters Lincoln and Jack took Nicole out for drinks to take her mind off her attacker. Lincoln, who was previously in a relationship with a man, was shown taking an illegal drug which he gave to Nicole. Later in the episode, Lincoln and Nicole were shown in bed together. In the episode broadcast the following evening, Jack asked Lincoln about being gay and sleeping with Nicole. Lincoln replied that he did not have to ‘put a label on it’, saying, ‘I’m just me’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the programme’s portrayal of Lincoln’s sexuality, by a straight actor, could have damaging effects on young viewers or those struggling with their sexuality. The character explained that he preferred not to use labels and there was no suggestion that Lincoln’s sexual orientation changed under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or that his sexual orientation was ‘a phase’. While the Authority acknowledged that ensuring diversity in casting was an important issue, the casting of straight actors to play gay or queer characters was a decision for the broadcaster. The actor’s portrayal of Lincoln was part of the programme’s fictional narrative, which in context was not in breach of standards. The Authority therefore did not identify any grounds which would justify restricting the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression or dramatic license in this case.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Programme Information, Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Alcohol, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Parlane and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2018-072 (14 November 2018)
2018-072

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview between Checkpoint’s John Campbell and former United States television personality, Matt Lauer, who at the time was involved in controversy regarding public access to his New Zealand property. The complainant alleged that Mr Campbell unfairly emphasised the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office’s (OIO) reassessment of Mr Lauer under its ‘good character test’, and later made false allegations about who had initially raised this topic. The Authority found that the circumstances of the OIO’s assessment were directly relevant to the discussion and that this was raised again later in the interview by Mr Lauer himself. Mr Lauer was given ample opportunity during the interview to present his perspective on his treatment by New Zealand media and the issue of foreign land ownership and public access.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness, Balance, Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Parlane and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2018-075 (14 November 2018)
2018-075

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a RadioLIVE Drive show, which discussed the issue of property managers or landlords asking to see the bank statements of prospective tenants. The Authority found the broadcast did not breach any of the broadcasting standards raised by the complainant, noting the broadcast included a range of viewpoints from the hosts, interviewees and listeners who phoned into the programme. The broadcast discussed a legitimate issue and was in line with audience expectations for the programme and for talkback radio. The Authority therefore found no actual or potential harm that might have outweighed the important right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Good Taste and Decency, Programme Information, Privacy, Fairness

Decisions
Hyslop & McElroy and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-073 (14 November 2018)
2018-073

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about two episodes from the second season of British dating game show, Naked Attraction, broadcast on TVNZ 2 at 9.30pm on Friday 27 July 2018 and Friday 3 August 2018. During each episode, a clothed individual selected a date from six naked individuals, who were gradually revealed in stages from the feet up, with no blurring or pixelation of nudity. The complaints alleged these episodes of Naked Attraction contained a high level of full-frontal nudity and sexual discussion, which was offensive and contrary to standards of good taste and decency. The complainants also submitted that the programme was degrading and breached the privacy of the participants. The Authority found that while the programme may not have been to everybody’s taste, it was preceded by a clear warning, contained many body-positive messages and those involved in the programme spoke positively of their experiences. Given the tone of the programme, there was no element of exploitation or humiliation of participants and it was clear that they had given their consent to appear on the programme. Overall, the Authority did not consider that the alleged harm caused by the broadcast outweighed the important right to freedom of expression, taking into account the above contextual factors and the protections available to viewers, including a detailed warning, to help them make an informed choice about whether to watch the programme.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Privacy

Decisions
Walker and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2018-069 (14 November 2018)
2018-069

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that it was inappropriate to broadcast the song ‘Talk Dirty’ by Jason Derulo at 4pm on The Edge. The Authority noted the language complained about was censored in the song, minimising any potential offence or harm caused. Taking into account relevant contextual factors, including audience expectations of The Edge and the popularity and longevity of the song (first released in 2013), the Authority found that children’s interests were adequately considered and the song was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence. Accordingly, any restriction of the right to freedom of expression on this occasion would be unjustified.

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

Decisions
Hummelstad and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-077 (14 November 2018)
2018-077

A complaint about a Newshub item in which the presenter commented, ‘And I thought the only reason we watch Aussie Rules [AFL] was for the short shorts’, has not been upheld by the Authority. The Authority found that the comment, while inappropriate, did not reach the threshold to be considered a serious violation of community norms of good taste and decency. The Authority acknowledged the importance of contextual factors in considering whether the standards have been breached, including the nature of Newshub as an unclassified news programme and audience expectations of the broadcast. The Authority recognised that the statement was not made with malice or nastiness and found the comment did not breach the discrimination and denigration, balance or fairness standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Haverland and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-070 (14 November 2018)
2018-070

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a promo for Body Fixers, which included a brief shot of a woman exposing her hairy lower stomach area to a team of beauty therapists. The complainant initially complained to the broadcaster that the promo showed a man exposing his pubic hair. The Authority viewed the promo broadcast at the date and time identified by the complainant, and was satisfied that the promo showed a woman lifting her shirt to expose her lower stomach area, rather than a man pulling down his pants to show his pubic hair. The Authority nevertheless went on to consider the promo against the good taste and decency standard, finding that, in the context of a programme about beauty therapy, the fleeting shot of lower stomach body hair was unlikely to cause undue or widespread offence and distress. Upholding the complaint would therefore represent an unjustified and unreasonable limit on the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency  

Decisions
Hall & Large and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-061 (10 October 2018)
2018-061

Two complaints regarding an episode of Shortland Street were not upheld. In the episode a new character appointed CEO of the Shortland Street hospital commented, ‘Puffed up, privileged Pakeha men drunk on control, terrified of change… we are the future, Esther, not them,’ referring to the hospital’s management. Complaints were made that this statement was sexist, racist and offensive to white men. The Authority reviewed the programme and relevant contextual factors, including established expectations of Shortland Street as a long-running, fictional soap opera/drama, and concluded the character’s statement did not breach broadcasting standards. It found upholding the complaints in this context would unreasonably limit the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Good Taste and Decency, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

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