In this Bulletin: Note from the Chief Executive, BSA News, Latest Decisions, Enquiries to the BSA, Media News  
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April 2015

Number 53
Note from the Chief Executive

Kia ora
The year is now well underway, and as I write this we’re already in the middle of Easter school holidays.
Thinking of our children, and how they might be occupying themselves during the break, it’s timely to note that the release of our Children’s Media Use Study since our last Bulletin. You can read more about this below, in 'BSA News'.  
It’s also been a relatively busy time for the broadcast media in the news recently. In light of that, we’ve aggregated some of the content we’ve found most interesting since our last Bulletin below, in 'Media News'. We’ve looked at both local and international news items on broadcasting regulation and the media landscape in which we operate. We hope you find this new feature useful.
We also hope you enjoy the updated look and content in this latest Bulletin. We would love to hear from our readers so let us know if you have any comments or suggestions.
Nga mihi
Karen Scott-Howman 

BSA News

Children's Media Use Research

On 30 March we released research into how New Zealand's children engage with media today – conducted independently by Colmar Brunton for the Broadcasting Standards Authority and NZ On Air. The Children's Media Use Study shows the majority of New Zealanders take steps to manage their children's media use: parents and children use on-screen classifications and warnings, have family rules around viewing and internet use, and change the channel, turn off or move away when they come across challenging content. The use of these measures has either increased or remained consistent since our previous study in 2007. See the full report here.  

Public Awareness Survey
On 30 March we also published the results of our 2014 Public Awareness Survey, which measured the public's awareness of the BSA and their ability to complain.

Public Consultation on Codes
The BSA is currently reviewing its Codes of Broadcasting Practice, and will be consulting the public in April/May of this year. Keep an eye out if you want to have your say.  

Congratulating NZ On Air on 25 years
We congratulate NZ On Air for supporting local content for 25 years. Read more about their anniversary here

Latest Decisions

Complaints about Radio Broadcasts
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

Zero Commission NZ Ltd and The Radio Network Ltd - 2014-126

Coast FM News reported that Zero Commission ‘has been making low ball offers’ to shareholders of various companies. A majority of the Authority upheld the complaint that Zero Commission and its shareholders were treated unfairly as no opportunity was given to respond to the claims or the negative impression created. The minority did not consider the item was unfair as Zero Commission could reasonably expect some commentary from time to time that it would not like or agree with. The Authority unanimously declined to uphold the complaint that the use of the term ‘low ball’ was inaccurate as this was a subjective term, not a point of fact. The controversial issues standard was not applicable because the item focused squarely on one company, not a controversial issue of public importance.

Upheld (by majority): Fairness
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Controversial Issues
No Order

Lace and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2014-111

The Authority declined to uphold a complaint that Radio New Zealand's Sunday Morning coverage of 'Dirty Politics issues', was unbalanced, irresponsible and unfair. The broadcast covered a range of topics including Dirty Politics, and as the book was one of the political 'hot topics' in the lead-up to the 2014 general election and widely reported on, listeners could reasonably be expected to be aware of other views.

Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Fairness, Responsible Programming

Taranaki Regional Council and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2014-141

An item on Rural News discussed Taranaki Regional Council's response to a previous Rural News story about landfarms, and included the statement that TRC 'consents the disposal of oil industry waste on to about a dozen dairy and drystock farms, known as landfarms in the region'. The Authority declined to uphold a complaint that the statement was inaccurate and misleading as it was not material to the item and was clarified in the context of the story as a whole.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Keren and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2014-144

An item on Morning Report covered a truce between Israel and Hamas during the Gaza conflict. A Palestinian rights activist and an Israeli spokesman were interviewed. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the item was unbalanced because more air time was given to the Palestinian view, and because no significant point of view was presented from an equivalent Israeli activist. There is no requirement for mathematically equal time to be given to competing perspectives on controversial issues. Sufficient efforts were made during the broadcast to showcase the Israeli, as well as the Palestinian, perspective. Further, listeners could reasonably be expected to be aware of a range of views on the Gaza conflict given the extensive and ongoing coverage of this issue.

Not Upheld: Controversial Issues

Coffey and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2014-152

A participant on 'The Panel' during Afternoons with Jim Mora made comments about men wolf whistling at women, such as 'bring back the wolf whistle', 'a whistle is not harassment', 'a lot of women are the ones that haven't been whistled at, that have got a problem with it' and 'we are the peacocks, you guys are the ones that look at us'. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast condoned and encouraged sexual harassment of women, as the panellist's comments were clearly her own opinion and did not reach the level of offensiveness required to find a breach of the relevant standards.

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

Complaints about Free-to-Air TV Broadcasts

Peet and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-001

An item on The Paul Henry Show featured a recent Police press release about a so-called tourist who had reportedly been driving with a kayak attached width-ways to the roof of his car. The presenter commented that the man was ‘a bloody twat’ and that his actions ‘pissed him off’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint about the presenter’s choice of language and his denigration of foreign tourists. In the context of a late-night programme and the presenter’s well-known style, the language did not threaten current norms of good taste and decency and ‘foreign tourists’ are not a section of the community to which the discrimination and denigration standard applies.  

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming, Controversial Issues, Fairness

Malone & Sadd and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-156

An item on ONE News and a later ONE News update showed a highly-ranked New Zealand mixed martial artist's loss in an Ultimate Fighting Championship match, in which he was kicked and punched repeatedly in the head. The Authority declined to uphold two complaints that the footage was excessively violent because the level of physicality was not unexpected and acceptable in the context of a sport news story covering a fight.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Responsible Programming, Children's Interests, Violence

Green and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2014-147

An item on 3 News covered the state of the Labour Party leadership after the 2014 general election. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item contained multiple errors of fact and the political editor misrepresented David Cunliffe’s stated position. While errors were made in the broadcast (which were acknowledged by the broadcaster), they were technical in nature and not material to the focus of the item, which was the confusion surrounding the Labour Party leadership. The explanations given in the broadcast would not have misled viewers as to the general Labour Party process for leadership elections, and any misunderstanding around Mr Cunliffe’s position was due to his own contradictory statements. 

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Right to Life NZ and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-003

An item on Cambell Live featured the story of a terminally ill man who is an advocate for voluntary euthanasia. The introduction to the item referred to a proposed private member's bill that would legalise voluntary euthanasia in New Zealand. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item lacked balance because it failed to present other significant views on euthanasia. Although voluntary euthanasia is a controversial issue of public importance, the item did not 'discuss' this issue. The item was clearly focused on the interviewee's personal story and experiences, so it did not trigger the requirement for presenting alternative views.

Not Upheld: Controversial Issues

McDonald and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-150

Two ONE News items covered the lava eruption of Mount Kilauea that threatened a small town in Hawaii. The complainant alleged that the temperatures of the lava given in the news items were inaccurate. The Authority declined to determine the complaint on the basis it was trivial, as it related to a technical and insignificant aspect of the broadcast. The complainant continues to refer similar complaints to the Authority despite previous decisions.

Declined to determine: Accuracy

McDonald and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-158

During an episode of Seven Sharp one of the presenters made comments about Guy Fawkes celebrations and fireworks. The complainant alleged that the presenter's comment, 'Did you know a burning sparkler is five times hotter than boiling water?' was inaccurate. The Authority declined to determine the complaint on the basis it was trivial. The presenter was giving her opinion about the likelihood of fireworks being banned and her mention of the temperature of sparklers would not have materially altered viewers' understanding of the item.

Declined to Determine: Accuracy

Hamill & Others and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-101

An item on ONE News reported on KPMG's latest report showing that banks collectively made a record profit in the last financial year. In the second part of the item the reporter gave a 'very basic explanation' of how banks 'make their money'. The Authority declined to uphold complaints that the item was inaccurate and misleading because it was based on the 'money multiplier' model rather than the 'fractional reserve banking' model. Although simplified, the explanation was generally correct.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

WS and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2014-100

An item on 3rd Degree contained an interview with a man who was involved in a family feud over the provisions of his mother's will. The man described the legal battle with his brothers, and the item showed two old photographs of the brothers, one of whom was WS. The Authority upheld the complaint that WS' privacy was breached as he had not consented to having his image shown in the programme.

Upheld: Privacy
Order: Section 13(1)(d) $1,500 compensation to the complainant for breach of privacy

Chaney and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-142

A promo for Seven Sharp showed a Pit Bull owner describing the dogs as the 'most sookiest, goofiest, loyal, loving teddy bears'. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that it was misleading to promote Pit Bulls as 'good family dogs'. The comments were clearly distinguishable as opinion, so the accuracy standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Larsen and SKY Network Television Ltd - 2014-153

An episode of the murder mystery series Midsomer Murders depicted several murders, including a man being shot with a bow and arrow and a woman being shot with a gun. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the murder scenes showed realistic violence likely to disturb children. The murder scenes were relatively innocuous in context and did not exceed the programme's PGR classification.

Not Upheld: Responsible Programming, Children's Interests

Gray and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-137

A promo for Embarrassing Bodies Downunder broadcast at 7.15pm during Shortland Street contained a brief reference to the effect of pineapple on the taste of semen. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the sexual references in the promo were inappropriate for broadcast in this timeslot. The reference to oral sex was inexplicit, would not likely have been understood by most younger viewers and did not exceed expectations of the regular audience of the host programme, which frequently contains mature themes.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children's Interests

O'Connor and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-139

The election coverage programme Vote 2014 included footage of Te Ururoa Flavell speaking to Māori Party supporters in te reo Māori. One of the presenters said, '[O]bviously as he's speaking in Māori, in te reo, and the vast majority of us aren't going to understand that... let's go back to David Cunliffe...' and the broadcast crossed to Mr Cunliffe's speech. The Authority declined to uphold a complaint that the comment was racist and unfair. Although the comment was disrespectful and dismissive of the fact that te reo Māori is an official language of New Zealand, it did not reach the high threshold necessary to encourage discrimination or denigration, and was not unfair to Mr Flavell, especially in the context of an important political event.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness

Butler and Māori Television Service - 2014-091

Native Affairs broadcast an item entitled 'What Lies Beneath', which reported on the recent conviction of Northland farmer Allan Titford and examined the cultural and legal impact he had on race relations in New Zealand. The Authority declined to uphold a complaint that the item was biased, inaccurate and unfair. It was not necessary to present alternative views on Mr Titford's conviction, the item was materially accurate and subject to editorial discretion, and no one was denigrated or treated unfairly.

Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration

Sampurno and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2014-148

An item on 3 News
 reported details of John Key’s meeting with the Indonesian president. The newsreader discussed terrorism in Indonesia and referred to Indonesia as ‘the biggest Muslim country in the world’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this statement was inaccurate, finding that viewers would have understood the intended meaning that the majority of Indonesians are followers of Muslim faith. The Authority also declined to uphold the complaint that the discussion of terrorism in Indonesia denigrated Muslims and/or Indonesians, as it was factual and did not carry any invective.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration

Feral and MediaWorks TV Ltd and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2014-143

The Authority declined to uphold complaints that three broadcasts showing fishing and hunting were barbaric and cruel. As the Authority has noted in previous decisions on similar complaints from the complainant, killing and preparing animals to eat is a fact of life and her concerns are based primarily on personal lifestyle preferences, not broadcasting standards issues.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order, Controversial Issues, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming, Children's Interests, Violence

Click here for all of the latest BSA decisions
Click here to search all BSA decisions

Enquiries to the BSA

In the last several months the BSA has received over 200 enquiries via phone, our website, paper mail and email on various topics. Around a fifth of these enquiries were related to The X Factor, and were directed to the broadcaster in the first instance.   

Media News

New Zealand 

Radio New Zealand CEO Paul Thompson: The changing face of news and current affairs

The latest in the 'global mode' debate

Open letter from the Human Rights Commission to Paul Henry: Feminism

Cambell Live's future and how ratings work

How the media talks about diversity

Election satire not ‘election programme’

Human Rights Commission welcomes MediaWorks statement on bullying

Joan Withers appointed TVNZ chairwoman

Media law with Ursula Cheer: Drones

A history of censorship on New Zealand radio




Statement from BBC about Jeremy Clarkson  

Ofcom ruling on Jeremy Clarkson’s use of ‘pikey’    

Balance complaint about UK political leaders debate   

Broadcast of call from murder victim breached standards

TV presenter accused of ‘Islamaphobia’ will not be investigated

Ofcom’s new guidelines for portraying children



Appeal over radio station prank call allowed

Current affairs programme breached fairness standard

Did you know...?

Complaints about broadcasting standards must be made to the broadcaster in the first instance except for privacy and election programme complaints.  
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