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Decisions
Mclaughlin and Radio New Zealand Ltd – 2019-032 (17 September 2019)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an interview by Kim Hill with former nun and lesbian activist Monica Hingston breached broadcasting standards by including the suggestion that the Catholic Church, and by connection, all Catholics are corrupt. The Authority found that the interview did not contain a high level of condemnation, nor would it undermine community standards of good taste and decency, as it was a nuanced, considered conversation that was narrowly focused on Ms Hingston’s personal views and experiences with the Catholic Church. Taking into account public interest in the interview and the fact that the interview was clearly signalled as being from Ms Hingston’s perspective, the Authority also determined that it did not result in any unfairness to the Catholic Church.

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

Decisions
Wratt and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-031 (17 September 2019)
2019-031

The Authority declined to determine a complaint regarding a news item covering animal welfare in rodeos. David Wratt complained that the item, which covered loss of animal life in rodeos, should focus on the deaths of babies as human life is more valuable than animal life. As this complaint relates to a matter of editorial discretion and personal preference, it is not capable of being determined by a complaints procedure. The Authority considered that, in all circumstances of the complaint, it should not be determined by the Authority. 

Declined to Determine: Good Taste and Decency; Programme Information; Discrimination and Denigration; Balance; Fairness

Decisions
Pepping and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-040 (17 September 2019)
2019-040

A complaint that a news item which included blurred clips of a politician in a strip club breached the children’s interests standard has not been upheld. The Authority found that the short news item contained brief and inexplicit clips from inside the strip club which were shown in the context of a news item about Australian politics. Generally audiences are aware of the need to exercise discretion during news programming to regulate their own and their children’s viewing. The Authority found that due to audience expectations of 1 News, which is an unclassified news and current affairs programme, the brevity of the clip and blurring applied, the public interest, and the focus of the item being on Pauline Hanson’s response to the resignation of a party candidate, the item would not cause undue harm to children.

Not Upheld: Children’s Interests

Decisions
Phillips and Racing Industry Transition Agency - ID2019-044 (17 September 2019)
ID2019-044

The BSA has jurisdiction to consider complaints about a programme that has been simultaneously broadcast on television and streamed on the internet (simulcasts). The BSA does not have jurisdiction to consider complaints about YouTube content that is available on demand, as on demand content is excluded from the definition of broadcasting under the Broadcasting Act 1989. The Authority determined that the complaint should be considered under the Pay Television Code.

Jurisdiction accepted

Decisions
Wood and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2019-036 (17 September 2019)
2019-036

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the song Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love breached broadcasting standards. The complaint was that the song lyrics described an ‘intention to stalk, kidnap, imprison and rape’ and the song was inappropriate to broadcast in the afternoon. The Authority determined that the song’s satirical nature and upbeat style reduced the potential for the darker tone of the lyrics to cause harm. The song was within audience expectations for the eclectic music selection of the host programme, Matinee Idle and, taking into account the context of the broadcast, the lyrics did not undermine widely shared community standards and would not have unduly harmed child listeners.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Right To Life New Zealand and Mediaworks TV Ltd – 2019-041 (17 September 2019)
2019-041

A complaint that a segment on The Project which discussed the delay in abortion legislative reform and the current process for obtaining a legal abortion in New Zealand was discriminatory, unbalanced and misleading was not upheld. The Authority found that the item did not breach the discrimination and denigration standard as people who are opposed to this reform and ‘the unborn’ do not amount to recognised sections of the community for the purposes of the standard. The Authority also found the item clearly approached this topic from a particular perspective and that viewers could reasonably be expected to have a level of awareness of significant arguments in the debate.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy

Decisions
Stubbs and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2019-049 (17 September 2019)
2019-049

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that an item on Morning Report discussing the possible boycott of the Tuia – Encounters 250 commemorations was unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair. The Authority found the item was balanced through the presentation of alternative perspectives and the existence of significant media coverage within the period of current interest. The Authority also found the broadcast did not contain any material inaccuracy with respect to Captain Cook’s first arrival in New Zealand. Finally, the Authority found the fairness standard did not apply as the complainant did not identify any person or organisation who took part in or was referred to in the broadcast who was treated unfairly.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Singh and Radio Virsa - 2019-037 (17 September 2019)
2019-037

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment of Punjabi talkback programme, Bhakhde Masley. During the programme, the host engaged in a heated argument with a caller, calling him a ‘dog’ and saying ‘someone should beat you with a shoe.’ The Authority acknowledged that the comments were in poor taste, but found they were unlikely to undermine widely shared community standards because, amongst other reasons, talkback is a robust environment and the host’s comments were not explicit or graphic. For the same reasons, the Authority also found the comments did not amount to unduly disturbing violent content and that they were unlikely to incite or encourage violence.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence   

Decisions
Reekie and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-033 (23 August 2019)
2019-033

During a segment of The AM Show, which discussed how different sections of the community had united in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks, host Duncan Garner said he’d like ‘the gangs’ to nominate a person to ‘look after’ the alleged attacker. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Mr Garner’s comment breached broadcasting standards. The Authority found, upon consideration of contextual factors, including the glib nature of the comment, that while it was discordant with the tone of the broadcast and may have caused offence to some, it did not go beyond audience expectations of Mr Garner or The AM Show. The Authority concluded that any restriction of the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression on this occasion would be unreasonable. 

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence, Law and Order

Decisions
Muir and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-039 (23 August 2019)
2019-039

A complaint alleging that an interview on Breakfast with Professor Douglas Pratt, an expert in theological and religious studies, breached broadcasting standards has not been upheld. The interview was exploring Professor Pratt’s views on the possible motivation behind the attacks on 15 March 2019 on two mosques in Christchurch. The Authority found that the interview was not a discussion as contemplated under the balance standard, but rather Professor Pratt’s in-depth, expert opinion, and therefore the balance standard did not apply. The Authority also found that the broadcast did not contain a high level of condemnation towards the Christian community nor the level of malice or nastiness required to breach the discrimination and denigration standard.

Not Upheld: Balance, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Burton and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-026 (23 August 2019)
2019-026

 The Authority has upheld a complaint that a promo for The Shallows shown during Finding Dory breached the children’s interests standard. The Authority found that the promo, which featured sinister and scary shark related content, was inappropriate for a child audience which would likely have been disturbed or alarmed by it. The Authority noted the importance of scheduling and editing promos for AO programmes appropriately, taking into account the classification of the host programme, and also the time of broadcast, target and likely audience of the host programme, and audience expectations. In considering the contextual factors, the Authority also found that the promo did not meet the G classification of the host programme. The Authority made no orders, and determined that the publication of the decision was sufficient to publicly notify and remedy the breach and would provide appropriate guidance to the broadcaster and to broadcasters generally.

Upheld: Children’s Interests. No order.

Decisions
Taimoori and 5TUNZ Communications Ltd - 2019-019 (23 August 2019)
2019-019

The Authority has upheld a complaint about two broadcasts on Humm FM, finding that the complainant was treated unfairly. The Authority found that comments made by the host during the broadcasts were likely to reflect negatively on the complainant and to impact on his personal and professional reputation. As the complainant was adversely affected, he should have been given an opportunity under the fairness standard to respond to the comments made about him. The Authority emphasised that the right to broadcast carries with it privileges and responsibilities, and in this case the host used his platform to air his personal grievances against the complainant without giving him an opportunity to comment, which was unfair. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the privacy standard, finding that while the complainant may have been identifiable to the Hindi community to which these broadcasts were targeted, no private information or material about him was disclosed. 

Upheld: Fairness. Not Upheld: Privacy  

Order: Section 16(4) – $750 in costs to the Crown

Decisions
Frost and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2019-025 (23 August 2019)
2019-025

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that comments made by Duncan Garner and Judith Collins on The AM Show breached the balance and law and order standards of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice. The Authority found that the comments identified did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance, so the balance standard did not apply. The Authority also found that the broadcast did not breach the law and order standard as it did not contain any content which would have encouraged audiences to break the law.

Not Upheld: Balance, Law and Order

Decisions
NT and Television New Zealand - 2019-028 (19 August 2019)
2019-028

Warning: This decision contains content that some readers may find distressing.

Following the 15 March 2019 attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, 1 News at 6pm twice broadcast an edited clip taken from the alleged attacker’s 17‑minute livestream video. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast was in breach of the good taste and decency and violence standards. The content of the clip, and the broadcast as a whole, was newsworthy and had a high level of public interest. The very brief clip was an edited segment of the livestream video which provided information to audiences, but which did not contain explicit graphic or violent content and did not promote or glorify the actions of the attacker. Specific warnings and extensive signposting ensured audiences were sufficiently informed about the disturbing nature of the content. Taking into account the unprecedented nature of these attacks in New Zealand, the Authority found that the alleged harm did not outweigh the important right to freedom of expression and the high level of public interest in the broadcast. The Authority’s intervention in upholding the complaint would therefore represent an unreasonable or unjustified limit on the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence   

Decisions
UJ and SKY Network Television Ltd - 2019-030 (19 August 2019)
2019-030

Warning: This decision contains content that some readers may find distressing.

During coverage of the 15 March 2019 attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, SKY Network Television channel 085, Sky News New Zealand, included a number of edited clips taken from the alleged attacker’s 17‑minute livestream video. The Authority upheld a complaint that the broadcast was in breach of the violence and law and order standards. While the broadcast as a whole was newsworthy and had a high level of public interest, the clips themselves contained disturbing violent content, which had the potential to cause significant distress to members of the public, and particularly to the family and friends of victims and the wider Muslim community in New Zealand. In the context of the attacks, the content of these clips also risked glorifying the alleged attacker and promoting his messages. As such, the degree of potential harm that could be caused to audiences was greater than the level of public interest, and the Authority found overall that these clips, in the form broadcast, should not have been aired.

Upheld: Violence, Law and Order; Declined Jurisdiction: Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

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

Decisions
Grant and Phillips and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-013 (19 August 2019)
2019-013

Warning: This decision contains content that some readers may find distressing.

On 15 March 2019 a special 1 News broadcast covered the terrorist attacks on two Christchurch mosques. The broadcast featured footage of victims being taken into hospital, many of whom had visibly sustained gunshot injuries and/or were identifiable. The Authority did not uphold two complaints that the coverage breached the privacy standard. The Authority found that media coverage of this event had high public interest in light of the unprecedented nature of extreme violence that occurred. The media had an important role to play in informing the public of events as they unfolded, including the nature and scope of injuries suffered and the action of first responders, including medical personnel. The Authority acknowledged that the repeated use of footage of identifiable victims amounted to a breach of privacy but found that the public interest defence applied. The Authority also did not uphold a complaint that the good taste and decency, children’s interests and violence standards were breached. The Authority found that there was sufficient signposting by the broadcaster of the nature of the event being reported on to enable audiences to make informed choices as to whether they, or children in their care, should watch the coverage. The Authority held that the footage of the victims (which illustrated the gravity of the situation) was justified in the public interest.

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

Decisions
Moyer and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-034 (19 August 2019)
2019-034

A complaint about the use of the alleged mosque attacker’s name during a 1 News report was not upheld. The Authority found that in the context of the item the single use of the name and the broadcast’s limited reference to violence did not breach the violence standard.

Not Upheld: Violence

Decisions
Horowhenua District Council and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2018-105 (29 July 2019)
2018-105

A broadcast of The Long Lunch hosted by Wendyl Nissen included an interview with Horowhenua District Councillor (HDC) Ross Campbell, who talked about his decision to wear a body camera to Council meetings after what was described as incidents of bullying towards him. MediaWorks upheld the complaint under the fairness standard, finding that it should have sought comment from HDC prior to the broadcast, but did not take any remedial action. The Authority upheld HDC’s complaint that the action taken by MediaWorks following the finding of the breach of the fairness standard was insufficient. The Authority found that MediaWorks ought to have broadcast a follow-up item to remedy the breach. The Authority also upheld the complaint that the item was unbalanced as it did not include any comment from HDC or acknowledgement of an alternative viewpoint with respect to the allegations of bullying. Finally, the Authority found the broadcast was likely to mislead audiences by giving the impression that HDC had a systemic culture of bullying, through the absence of the presentation of alternative perspectives, and upheld the complaint under the accuracy standard.

Upheld: Fairness (Action Taken), Balance, Accuracy

Order: Section 13(1)(a) broadcast statement

Decisions
Reekie and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-017 (18 July 2019)
2019-017

During a segment on The AM Show, host Duncan Garner referred to an individual as a ‘woolly woofter’. A complaint that the use of this term breached broadcasting standards, as it was homophobic and offensive, was not upheld. The Authority found that, while some viewers may have found the term inappropriate or offensive, the use of the term was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or seriously violate community norms. In the context of the programme, upholding the complaint would unreasonably restrict the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Law and Order

Decisions
Marra and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2019-023 (18 July 2019)
2019-023

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that ACT leader David Seymour MP was bullied and treated unfairly on Magic Afternoons with Sean Plunket. Mr Seymour called the show to present his perspective on comments made by Mr Plunket moments earlier about Mr Seymour’s motivation for sponsoring the End of Life Choice Bill. The Authority found that, while Mr Plunket’s interviewing style was robust and challenging, Mr Seymour was not treated unfairly given the nature of the programme, the fact that Mr Seymour initiated the conversation and expressed his views, and Mr Seymour’s position and his experience with the media. The Authority also found that the broadcast did not breach the balance standard as it did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance, which is required for the balance standard to apply. The merits of the End of Life Choice Bill is a controversial issue of public importance but the focus of this discussion was on the discrete topic of Mr Seymour’s political motivations and the alleged influence of ACT party donors. The Authority also found the discrimination and denigration standard did not apply as the standard does not apply to individuals or organisations.

Not Upheld: Fairness, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration

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