In this section of the website you can search all our decisions from 1989/90 to the present. The decisions appear in descending order.
Decisions from 1994 appear in HTML. Decisions from 1989/90 to 1993 are attached as PDFs.
Four of the fields that appear at the top of individual decisions – Channel/Station, Programme, Standards, Standards Breached – have links that call up other decisions with the same information.
Please note that you will need to select specific standard/s, as well as a broadcasting code, to return decision results.
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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
An item on 1 News reported on Prime Minister Bill English’s experience during Waitangi Day, including a phone call with the President of the United States of America, President Trump. During an introduction to the item, the newsreader referred to President Trump’s ‘anti-Muslim travel ban’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the newsreader’s statement was inaccurate and unbalanced. The focus of this item was not the precise terms of Executive Order 13679 or its implications, but rather Bill English’s experiences on his first Waitangi Day as Prime Minister, during which his phone discussion with President Trump took place. In this context, the newsreader’s shorthand description of the Order was acceptable. The Authority pointed out, however, that broadcasters should take care when adopting commonly used shorthand terms, as this may not always be sufficient to meet standards of accuracy. The Authority did not uphold the balance complaint, as the brief reference did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance triggering the requirements of the balance standard.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance
An episode of reality television series Date My Ex on TV3 contained brief footage of two people drinking. The complaint was that the programme made drinking alcohol look like a game and also showed people playing poker, in breach of standards relating to good taste and decency, responsible programming and liquor, as well as children’s interests. The Authority declined to uphold the complaints on the grounds that the presence of liquor in the programme was extremely brief and alcohol consumption was not glamorised; the programme was correctly rated PGR and did not contain any material which warranted a higher rating of AO; and the content would not have offended the majority of viewers.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Responsible Programming, Children’s Interests, Liquor
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
Skins. Programme about British teenagers contained alcohol consumption, drugs, sexual material, nudity, violence and coarse language. Good taste and decency, law and order, responsible programming, children’s interests, violence and liquor promotion. Not upheld.
Close Up: "Volley or Folly". Item followed group of duck hunters celebrating opening season. Liquor, good taste and decency, and children’s interests, upheld. Law and order, balance, accuracy and fairness, not upheld. Orders (broadcast of statement, $1,500 costs to Lion Nathan Ltd, $3,500 costs to the Crown).
Groove in the Park event. Offensive text messages on screen. Good taste and decency, children's interests, fairness, upheld. Liquor, declined to determine. Orders (broadcast of a written statement; refrain from broadcasting between 12pm and 5pm on one Monday; $5,000 costs to Crown).
One News. Interview with golfer, liquor signage on backdrop behind him. Not upheld (liquor): action taken sufficient.
Prime Living. Presenter wore a rugby jersey bearing the words "Waikato Draught". Upheld (liquor: incidental promotion). No order.
Super Liquor Sportsnight. Item included twenty-four references to liquor. Upheld (liquor: action taken insufficient). Order ($500 costs to Crown).
Super Liquor Sportsnight. Episode broadcast on three occasions contained 17 visual and six verbal sponsorship credits for Super Liquor, plus screening a further three liquor advertisements. Upheld (breach of liquor standard and subsequent action insufficient). Order ($500 costs to Crown for each breach).
Havoc: music video "Smack my Bitch up". Complaint that it contained sexual violence, exploited women and promoted contemptuous treatment of women. Upheld: majority (good taste and decency, violence, liquor). Not upheld (denigration and discrimination). No order.
Super Liquor Sportsnight. Complaint that number of times the Super Liquor logo was screened breached the standard. Not upheld: action taken sufficient (liquor).
Nightline. All Black coach announced some team selections in front of large promotion for Steinlager Beer. Upheld (liquor, one aspect). No order.
Lion Red: The Game. More than 20 promotions for Lion Red beer were screened during the game. Not upheld: action taken sufficient (liquor promotion).
Havoc. Live broadcast of Guy Fawkes Day party held on the roof of the TVNZ building in Auckland. Complainant said the combination of fireworks, alcohol and young people was unsafe and a poor example for the young people at whom the channel is targeted, and she questioned the propriety of having people who appeared to be under the legal age drinking alcohol in public. Not upheld (liquor, anti-social behaviour).