Research Ngā Rangahau

Language That May Offend in Broadcasting



Warning: This research contains language that some readers may find offensive

From time to time, the BSA surveys the public to understand which words or expressions are considered most offensive in broadcasting and to what extent the level of acceptability is context-dependent. Our last survey was in 2013.

This year, we tested traditional swear words and blasphemies and also a selection of words and expressions that may be considered offensive from a cultural, or gender and/or sexual orientation point of view. The results indicate that traditional strong swear words continue to be the most unacceptable regardless of the context, but New Zealanders also have heightened sensitivity to language that may be considered offensive from a cultural, or gender and/or sexual orientation point of view.

You can read the research findings here: