Talkback radio host Sean Plunket reacted to author Eleanor Catton’s comments at a literary festival in India, which were negative about the New Zealand government. He was highly critical of Ms Catton, saying that she was a ‘traitor’ and an ‘ungrateful hua’ among other things. The Authority did not uphold complaints that Mr Plunket’s comments breached broadcasting standards. The nature of Ms Catton’s remarks was such that it was reasonable for them to attract some strong views in response. The host’s comments were within the bounds of audience expectations of talkback radio and within the right to freedom of expression.
Not Upheld: Fairness, Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Controversial Issues, Accuracy
During Talkback with Sean Plunket, one caller expressed views opposing drilling including the fact drilling resources were sent to China who manufactured it into ‘crap’. Later in the programme, the host sarcastically referred back to the caller’s comments, referring to the ‘Damn Chinese’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that his comments were offensive and disrespected Chinese people. The host was being sarcastic, and was actually defending China, not being derogatory. In any case the comments did not carry any invective and did not encourage the denigration of, or discrimination against, Chinese people.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration
Talkback with Sean Plunket contained a discussion about the ‘chemtrails’ theory, in the context of comments made by Colin Craig that the Conservative Party was undecided about the validity of this theory. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that inaccurately claimed that chemtrails were not real, and denigrated people who believed in chemtrails by referring to them as ‘nutters’. The programme clearly comprised opinion rather than statements of fact, and people who believe in chemtrails are not a section of the community.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration