In this Bulletin: Note from the CE, Latest Decisions, Media News  
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September 2016

Number 66
Note from the Chief Executive

Kia ora

Welcome to the September edition of the BSA’s Bulletin
We have issued five decisions this month, two relating to reality television.  These decisions consider the interests of participants in reality television programmes and examine the fairness and privacy standards and how these may apply in the reality television context.
We have also recently considered issues raised with respect to the broadcasting classification regime. The classifications for free-to-air and pay television are contained in the Programme Information standard in the Codebook and are also particularly relevant to the Children's Interests, Good Taste and Decency and Violence standards. Classifications are an important tool used by broadcasters to provide information to their audiences. Classifications and audience advisories give a clear signal about what content to expect. This enables viewers, parents and caregivers to make informed decisions about the content that they or their households intend to watch. For Radio, the Programme Information standard provides for broadcasters to use audience advisories if content is likely to be outside audience expectations. Classifications and advisories can protect viewers and listeners from harm resulting from content that may offend, disturb or distress some people.  
When determining a classification complaint, the Authority considers a number of contextual factors including the nature of the programme, audience expectations, and the target and likely audience. One-page guides to both free-to-air television and pay television classifications are available on our website here.

I hope you enjoy this Bulletin and we welcome any feedback you may have.


Belinda Moffat

Latest Decisions

Complaints about Free-to-Air Television Broadcasts

Djurdjevic and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-004

In an episode of The Block NZ: Villa Wars, the complainant was portrayed as a ‘temperamental European tiler’ who allegedly wanted to be paid in advance and went ‘AWOL’ when he was not paid. The Authority upheld a complaint that the complainant was treated unfairly and that key facts about his professional conduct were misrepresented. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the broadcast also breached a number of additional standards.

Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy

Not Upheld: Privacy, Discrimination and Denigration, Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order, Controversial Issues, Responsible Programming

Order: Section 16(4) costs to the Crown $1,500

Read our media release on this decision here.

Johns and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-049

An episode of the British cartoon, Grizzly Tales, which was classified G (General), featured a young girl called Victoria Spew who threw tantrums until she vomited to get her way. At the end of the episode, Victoria was sucked into the vacuum cleaner her mother had bought to clean up after her. The cartoon showed Victoria’s teeth being pulled from her gums, and organs and body parts falling into the bag. The episode ended with Victoria’s body parts trapped in the vacuum cleaner. The Authority upheld a complaint that this episode of Grizzly Tales was unsuitable for young children. The programme was classified G and so was required to be suitable for all children under the age of 14. While this episode may have appealed to older children, the Authority did not consider it was appropriate for preschool children, who were likely to be watching unsupervised early in the morning. The Authority did not make an order.

Upheld: Children’s Interests, Violence, Good Taste and Decency

No Order

Rees and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-051

The sports presenter during a ONE News bulletin described the performance of the Blues rugby team as ‘schizophrenic’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the term was unacceptable and contributed to the stigmatisation of people with mental illness. The Authority recognised that the use of the term ‘schizophrenic’ to describe a sports team may be seen as insensitive and inappropriate. However, in the context of this item the Authority found the comment did not reach the high threshold for encouraging discrimination against, or denigration of, those with mental illness. The term was used in a colloquial manner, and did not contain any malice towards people with mental illness.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

PN and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-041

An episode of Dog Squad featured footage taken at a named international airport in New Zealand, during which a Ministry for Primary Industries detector dog found an apple in a couple’s bag. PN, a Quarantine Officer, was shown questioning the couple about the apple and issuing them with a fine. The faces of PN and the couple, and PN’s identity tag, were blurred and PN was not named. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the segment breached PN’s privacy. While it found that, despite the blurring, PN was identifiable in the broadcast, it did not consider that any private information was disclosed during the segment. The segment was filmed in a busy airport, in view of passengers and staff, and the Authority therefore did not consider PN had a reasonable expectation of privacy over information concerning his role or his infringement of the couple. The Authority however recorded its concern that PN did not consent to the broadcast of the footage and had made a number of attempts to make his objection to being included in the programme known to the production company. It urged the broadcaster and the production company to collectively ensure PN’s wishes are given due consideration in the event of any repeat broadcast or similar filming circumstances in future.

Not Upheld: Privacy

Complaints about Radio Broadcasts
Golden and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2016-054

Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon bulletin included two segments titled ‘What do schools need to do to protect against fraud?’ and ‘Top tips for global investment’. Mr Golden lodged a complaint with RNZ alleging that the segments breached broadcasting standards. RNZ did not accept Mr Golden’s correspondence as a formal complaint on the basis it related to matters of personal preference which are not covered by the broadcasting standards regime. The Authority considered whether it had jurisdiction to accept Mr Golden’s referral of the matter to the BSA. It found it was open to RNZ to find that Mr Golden’s correspondence did not raise matters of broadcasting standards which triggered the formal complaints process. As a valid formal complaint was not made in the first instance, the Authority did not have jurisdiction to accept Mr Golden’s referral of his complaint.

Declined Jurisdiction

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

Media News

Each month we collect items from the media in New Zealand and overseas that are relevant to the broadcasting sector. A selection is below: 

New Zealand 

Broadcasters rise to challenge of a te reo Māori-only September 

NZ On Air responds to changing audiences with change

RNZ signs partnership with Te Whakaruruhau 

Fairfax and NZME agree on main commercial terms for proposed merger

iHeartRadio New Zealand Launches Four New Digital Stations


Clock is ticking as media reforms are reintroduced to Parliament

TV networks on brink of ad-spending revival 


TV diversity sees growth as viewing becomes more siloed

Americans' trust in the media hits all-time low, according to Gallup survey

Drone racing takes to the Sky with $1m investment

Ofcom's latest complaints adjudications 

Did you know... ? 

Since its establishment in 1989, the BSA has issued 4084 decisions.
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