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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.

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38 Results

JN and Mediaworks Radio Ltd - 2017-053 (27 October 2017)

A segment on Thane & Dunc included an interview with a man, X, who had a relationship with a couple (the complainant and Z). During the interview, X described the nature of the relationship. He did not name the couple, referring to them as ‘A’ and ‘B’. A second interview with X was broadcast the following day, during which the hosts told X they had spoken with the couple, who alleged the relationship was abusive. The hosts interrogated X about his behaviour, then demanded X apologise and agree to make no further contact with the couple involved. The Authority upheld a complaint that these broadcasts breached the privacy of the complainant and Z. The Authority found that little, if any, sensitivity or respect was shown for the dignity, safety, reputation and mental wellbeing of the parties involved, and this represented a serious breach of broadcasting standards and a serious lack of understanding of the parties’ right to privacy.

Upheld: Privacy

Orders: Section 13(1)(d) $3,000 compensation to JN and $3,000 compensation to Z for the breaches of privacy; Section 16(4) $2,500 costs to the Crown

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BL and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2017-025 (9 August 2017)

During Jay-Jay, Dom & Randell, the hosts discussed their conversation with a guest the previous day who was described as a successful voice coach, and who gave tips about putting on a ‘sexy voice’. One of the hosts prank called two phone sex chat lines and spoke to the operators to see whether they used a ‘sexy voice’. One of the operators he spoke with was the complainant, who discussed practical aspects of the service, including how calls were conducted and paid for. A distinctive sound could be heard in the background of the call. The Authority upheld a complaint from the operator that this broadcast breached her privacy and was unfair. The combination of the extended audio of the complainant’s voice and the background sounds meant that she could be identified by people beyond family and close friends who would reasonably be expected to know about her phone sex chat line business. The complainant was also unaware she was being recorded and did not consent to the broadcast of this information. This resulted in a breach of her privacy and was also unfair. The Authority did not uphold the remaining aspects of BL’s complaint.

Upheld: Privacy, Fairness

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

Orders: $2,000 privacy compensation; $1,500 costs to the Crown

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Singh and Radio Virsa - 2017-001 (27 October 2017)

In June, October and November 2016, Sikh radio station Radio Virsa broadcast four programmes in Punjabi on 107FM. The programmes included host and talkback commentary about a wide range of issues. The Authority received a complaint that these broadcasts contained threatening and coarse language and themes, and offensive statements were made in relation to a number of named individuals in the Sikh community, including the complainant. The Authority found that aspects of these broadcasts were in breach of broadcasting standards. The Authority was particularly concerned that offensive comments were made about named individuals in the local community, which resulted in the individuals’ unfair treatment and, in one instance, a breach of privacy. The Authority also found aspects of the broadcasts, which contained comments about women, were unacceptable in New Zealand society and in breach of the good taste and decency standard. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the remaining broadcasting standards.

Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Privacy, Fairness

Not Upheld: Programme Information, Children’s Interests, Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Alcohol, Balance, Accuracy

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

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TF and NZME Radio Ltd - 2016-063 (15 December 2016)

During The Devlin Radio Show, host Martin Devlin was forcefully outspoken about an abusive text message he had received from the complainant, TF. Mr Devlin read out the complainant’s mobile phone number multiple times and phoned the complainant on air while making abusive comments about them. The Authority upheld a complaint that Mr Devlin breached the complainant’s privacy. While the Authority did not condone the strongly-worded text message initially sent to Mr Devlin, Mr Devlin’s response was disproportionate and unprofessional, even in the context of the robust talkback radio environment. The complainant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to their personal mobile number, and Mr Devlin’s comments amounted to a sustained and personal attack against the complainant, making use of private information to personalise the abuse and implicitly encouraging harassment of TF. This amounted to a highly offensive disclosure and was a breach of TF’s privacy.

Upheld: Privacy

Orders: Section 13(1)(d) – privacy compensation $2,000; section 16(4) – costs to the Crown $2,000; section 13(1)(a) – broadcast statement

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Madden and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2016-055 (14 October 2016)

During The Edge’s Smash! 20 countdown show, a caller successfully answered a series of questions based on the songs in the countdown and won a prize. While taking the caller’s personal details, the announcer left the phone channel in ‘on-air’ mode and inadvertently broadcast the caller’s full name, address, school, date of birth and mobile number. The Authority upheld a complaint that the broadcast breached the caller’s privacy. The caller was clearly identifiable and disclosed a high level of personal detail on air, over which she had a reasonable expectation of privacy. The Authority acknowledged the caller’s disclosure was the result of an unfortunate technical error on the announcer’s part, and that the broadcaster took immediate actions to respond to the breach. The Authority did not make any order in these circumstances.

Upheld: Privacy

No Order

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Stokes and NZME Radio Ltd - 2016-045 (3 November 2016)

During the Hauraki Breakfast Show, Deborah Stokes, mother of New Zealand-born English cricketer Ben Stokes, rang the studio to complain about what she considered to be unfair comments made by the hosts regarding her son, and to defend him. Mrs Stokes asked to speak with someone off air. Host Matt Heath assured Mrs Stokes she was off air, when in fact the conversation was being broadcast live on air. The Authority upheld a complaint that the action taken by NZME, having upheld Mrs Stokes’ complaint under the fairness and privacy standards, was insufficient. The broadcast, and particularly the hosts’ deceptive conduct, represented a significant breach of broadcasting standards and a lack of understanding of an individual’s fundamental right to fair treatment and to privacy. While NZME offered Mrs Stokes a substantial remedy following her complaint, it took limited action, which did not adequately rectify the harm caused to Mrs Stokes. Furthermore, events subsequent to the broadcast and prior to NZME’s response to the complaint, such as the hosts’ behaviour, undermined the genuineness of the proposed offer.

Upheld: Fairness (Action Taken), Privacy (Action Taken)

Orders: Section 13(1)(a) broadcast statement; section 13(1)(d) $4,000 compensation for breach of privacy; section 16(4) costs to the Crown $4,000

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Mitchell and NZME Radio Ltd - 2016-027 (3 November 2016)

During the Hauraki Breakfast Show Deborah Stokes, mother of New Zealand-born English cricketer Ben Stokes, rang the studio to complain about what she considered to be unfair comments made by the hosts regarding her son, and to defend him. Mrs Stokes asked to speak with someone off air. Host Matt Heath assured Mrs Stokes she was off air, when in fact the conversation was being broadcast live on air. The Authority upheld a complaint that the broadcast breached Mrs Stokes’ privacy. Mrs Stokes had a reasonable expectation that, in the circumstances, her phone call and the conversation would remain private. The recording and broadcast of her conversation, in circumstances where she had expressly asked for privacy was objectionable and would be highly offensive to an objective reasonable person in the complainant’s position.

Upheld: Privacy

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

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LN and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2016-016 (22 August 2016)

The Breeze ran a competition in which listeners were invited to nominate an individual they felt to be deserving of a shopping spree. The programme hosts spoke to a woman (G) on air about her nomination of her friend (N), whom she described as just having left a ‘potentially abusive relationship’. The Authority upheld a complaint from N’s husband, LN, that the broadcast breached his privacy. The Authority found that LN was identifiable due to a combination of identifying features disclosed within the broadcast and readily accessible information outside of the broadcast. It considered the allegations of a potentially abusive relationship and other intimate details of the relationship were highly sensitive and personal, and clearly carried the quality of private information. The disclosure of such information would be highly offensive to an objective reasonable person.

Upheld: Privacy

Order: Section 13(1)(d) – privacy compensation to the complainant $1,000

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Ihaia & IM and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2015-074 (10 March 2016)

Two hosts on George FM Breakfast asked listeners to send in the names and profiles of female users of Instagram described as ‘do-nothing bitches’. The names of two women, A and B, were submitted. The hosts went on to comment extensively on A’s profile, making inappropriate and disparaging comments about her, and also contacted A and interviewed her on air. The Authority upheld a complaint that the action taken by MediaWorks having found breaches of the fairness and good taste and decency standards was insufficient, and also found that the broadcast breached the privacy of both women.

Upheld: Fairness (Action taken), Good Taste and Decency (Action taken), Privacy

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Law and Order, Responsible Programming, Controversial Issues, Accuracy  

Orders: Section 13(1)(d) $4,000 compensation to A for breach of privacy; section 13(1)(d) $2,000 compensation to B for breach of privacy; section 16(4) $2,000 costs to the Crown

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VR and Apna Networks Ltd - 2014-033

APNA 990 broadcast a segment disclosing that a named company allegedly owed it money and asking for the director of that company to ‘contact us [as soon as possible] to sort out the account’. The Authority upheld the complaint that the broadcast breached the privacy of the company director because a debt is a private matter between the debtor and the person or company to whom the debt is owed. The disclosure was highly offensive as the complainant could reasonably expect the debt to remain private, and there was no public interest in disclosing it to the public at large.

Upheld: Privacy

Orders: Section 13(1)(d) $1,000 compensation to the complainant for breach of privacy; Section 16(4) $1,000 costs to the Crown

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Hill and Radio One - 2013-074

Hosts and a guest on the Otago student radio station, Radio One, made comments about a well-known Dunedin resident, including that he had been in a psychiatric hospital, and that his parents locked him up as a child because he was slow and an embarrassment to them. The Authority upheld the complaint that this breached the man’s privacy. The information disclosed had the quality of private information whether or not it was true. It was sensitive in nature and attracted a reasonable expectation of privacy. The broadcaster accepted that the comments were unacceptable and in poor taste, so the Authority did not make any order, but encouraged Radio One to take remedial steps as it saw fit.

Upheld: Privacy

No Order

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NJ and Apna Networks Ltd - 2010-066

Apna Ne Bana Di Jodi. Broadcast of personal ads that included complainant’s age, gender and phone number. Upheld (privacy). Order ($500 costs to complainant).

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RW and RadioWorks Ltd - 2008-111

The Edge. Broadcast of conversation with listener and her cellphone number. Privacy and fairness. Action taken. Upheld. Order ($1,500 to complainant for breach of privacy).

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Spring and The Radio Network Ltd - 2007-108

ZM. Host's comments. Privacy, fairness, upheld. Law and order, balance, not upheld. Order ($1,500 to complainant for breach of privacy).

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EF and CanWest RadioWorks Ltd - 2006-112

The Edge. Hosts repeating “a bit of inside goss” from an anonymous caller. Privacy. Upheld. Orders ($5,000 to complainant for breach of privacy, $2,067 costs to complainant, $5,000 costs to Crown).

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B and The RadioWorks Ltd - 2002-144, 2002-145

More FM. Radio competition, disclosure of work-place. Upheld (privacy). Action taken sufficient (fairness). No order (apology to complainant sufficient).

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Lehmann and The RadioWorks Ltd - 2002-077, 2002-078, 2002-079, 2002-080

Radio Pacific, Solid Gold, The Edge, The Rock. Messages broadcast over 4 days asking anyone who knew complainant's whereabouts to contact The RadioWorks Ltd. Allegedly improper use of missing person report. Upheld: majority (privacy principles iii and v, fairness). Not upheld (privacy principle iv). No order.

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M and Radio 531 PI - 2001-028

Radio 531 PI News. Report that 20-year-old Tongan man had died as a result of suicide. Upheld (privacy). Order ($500 compensation to complainant).

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A and The RadioWorks Ltd - 2000-048

John Banks' talkback: "Royal Breakfast Show". A host read on air part of A’s written complaint about the host’s use of the word "Royal" to describe his show and also named the complainant. Upheld (privacy principle (v) – identification. No order.

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BB and Radio Bay of Plenty Ltd - 1999-107, 1999-108

1XX birthday calls. Whakatane radio station broadcast call to BB who, it said, was 50 on Saturday. The call included the comment that she was to be reunited on that day with her son whom she had given up for adoption 30 years ago. Upheld (privacy). Not upheld (inadequacy of broadcaster's action). Subsequent action by broadcaster sufficient.

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DD and The Radio Network Ltd - 1999-062, 1999-063

91ZM. Radio station read out entry from winner of holiday competition, which explained why he deserved to win the holiday. Winning entry was read out on two days, with the winner's name mentioned in full on the second day, and included the details of his wife leaving him because she was having an affair with a 19-year-old who subsequently dumped her. The former wife complained that the broadcasts breached standards and her privacy. Upheld (privacy: second broadcast). Not upheld (fairness). Order ($250 compensation to DD; $250 costs to Crown).

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J and The Radioworks Ltd - 1999-024, 1999-025

The Edge. A radio announcer, claiming he was doing a survey on STDs, telephoned a woman and asked a number of personal and intimate questions. The call was broadcast live. The woman who received the call had identified herself using her first name and employer’s name. Upheld (good taste and decency, fairness: action taken insufficient). Upheld (privacy). Orders ($1,000 compensation to complainant, $750 costs to complainant, $1,000 costs to Crown).

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Black and The Radio Network Ltd - 1999-003

Radio Sport breakfast show. In discussion of reappointment of All Black coach, the host reported a private conversation he had overheard between John Hart and his wife in a public place. Upheld (privacy). No order.

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James and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1998-123

One Network News. Item discussed new dietary supplement, aimed at men with prostate problems. Complainant argued that the promotion of the product amounted to an advertorial and was irresponsible as it did not alert viewers to its known toxic effects. Furthermore, he questioned the qualifications of the product’s promoter to make medicinal recommendations on a prime time news programme. Not upheld (accuracy).

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P and 95bFM - 1998-049

95bFM. Announcer broadcast himself leaving a sexually suggestive message on P’s answerphone; P was involved with a community standards lobby group which featured in news reports at the time. Upheld (privacy). Order ($750 costs to Crown, $250 compensation to P).

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