An episode of Neighbours at War featured a dispute between a group of neighbours over a right of way. Two sets of neighbours alleged that their neighbours, a couple (Mr and Mrs X), had been threatening and harassing them. The Authority upheld aspects of a complaint from Mr and Mrs X that the episode was unfair and breached their privacy. The Authority also determined that the broadcaster did not take sufficient action having upheld one aspect of the complainants’ original fairness complaint. The programme contained potentially damaging allegations against the complainants and did not present their side of the story. The programme also broadcast footage of incidents between Mr and Mrs X and their neighbours on the right of way obtained by one neighbour’s friend and a security camera belonging to another neighbour, which was a highly offensive intrusion into their interest in solitude and seclusion. The Authority did not uphold the remaining aspects of the fairness and privacy complaints, and did not find that the item was inaccurate or misleading.
Upheld: Fairness (Action Taken), Fairness, Privacy; Not Upheld: Accuracy
Order: Section 13(1)(d) – privacy compensation to the complainants $500
The introduction to a Neighbours at War story showed brief footage of a man, GR, on a street outside a bar. The Authority did not uphold a complaint from GR’s son that the broadcast breached GR’s privacy. The footage was very brief, was taken in a public place and would not be highly offensive to an objective reasonable person.
Not Upheld: Privacy
Neighbours at War reported on a dispute between the complainant and his neighbour over who was entitled to the letterbox number ‘1’ on their street. The complainant did not take part in the programme, and his neighbour made a number of allegations against him, including that he had sex on his deck, mowed the lawn in his underwear, watched his neighbours in their spa bath, and disturbed them with loud music and security lights. The broadcaster upheld two aspects of his fairness and privacy complaints, but the Authority found that the action taken by the broadcaster to remedy the breaches was insufficient. The programme overall painted the complainant in a very unfavourable light and without his side of the story, which was unfair. The Authority considered publication of this decision was sufficient and did not make any order.
Upheld: Fairness (Action Taken), Privacy (Action Taken), Fairness
Not Upheld: Privacy, Accuracy, Controversial Issues, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming, Good Taste and Decency
An episode of Neighbours at War reported on allegations made by the complainant against her neighbour. The Authority did not uphold her complaint that the programme was biased and distorted the true situation, and that her cell phone footage was broadcast without her consent. The broadcaster dealt with the situation in an even-handed way and the complainant was given every opportunity to tell her side of the story. She was not treated unfairly, and she had consented to her involvement in the programme.
Not Upheld: Fairness, Privacy, Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming, Children’s Interests
The opening title sequence of an episode of Neighbours at War showed a brief image of the complainant looking at the camera and giving the finger. The Authority upheld the complaint that this breached the complainant’s privacy. The footage of his private property had been filmed more than eight years earlier, and the complainant had made it clear he wanted no involvement in the programme. Despite repeated objections, his image continued to appear in the opening titles of series four of the programme.
Order: Section 13(1)(d) – costs to the complainant for breach of privacy $1,000