In this Bulletin: Note from the Chief Executive, Latest Decisions, Media News  
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September 2015

Number 56
Note from the Chief Executive

Kia ora
Spring is underway and at the BSA the new season has coincided with the end of the public submission period on our new Codes. We received 20 submissions, which we are now analysing. Look out for updates on the review in the next month or so. Thanks to everyone who has been part of the process so far. We’ve heard from broadcasters, advocates, experts and interested citizens, and your contribution is sincerely appreciated.
Also this month, you can make submissions on
Content Regulation in a Converged World. This discussion document has been released by the Justice, Communications and Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams and looks at whether policy and regulatory frameworks are fit for purpose in the current New Zealand media landscape. We welcome this conversation and the opportunity to think about a response to the challenges and opportunities brought by the fast pace of change in our sector.
Nga mihi

Karen Scott-Howman 

Latest Decisions

Complaints about Radio Broadcasts
Maasland & Others and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2014-118

Sunday Morning contained two items on the historical relationship between Israel and apartheid South Africa: Counterpoint contained a discussion of the relationship between Israel and South Africa and of Israel's arms industry; and an interview with an anti-apartheid activist discussed this topic as well as modern-day Israel's treatment of Palestinians. The Authority upheld complaints that the broadcast breached the controversial issues standard, as no alternative perspective was presented either within the broadcast, in any proximate broadcast or in other media. The Authority declined to uphold the remainder of the complaints because: the statements complained of were either expressions of opinion or matters the Authority cannot determine and therefore were not subject to the accuracy standard; the statements did not reach the high threshold necessary to encourage discrimination or denigration; and the programme did not treat any individual or organisation unfairly. 

Upheld: Controversial Issues

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness

No Order

Read our media statement about this decision

Taiuru and New Zealand Media and Entertainment - 2015-045
During Jeremy Wells' 'Like Mike' skit on the Hauraki Breakfast show, in which he parodied radio and television presenter Mike Hosking, Mr Wells made various comments about Māori people and Stewart Islanders. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the comments were racist, offensive and degraded Māori and Stewart Islanders. The item was clearly satirical and intended to be humorous, and was consistent with audience expectations of the programme and the radio station. As satire, the item did not encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, Māori or Stewart Islanders and this form of speech is a legitimate and important exercise of the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming
Courtney and Port FM - 2015-038

During the Port FM Breakfast Show the presenters allegedly mentioned 'Jimmy from Omarama'. The Authority declined to determine a complaint from Jimmy Courtney that the broadcast breached his privacy, as the broadcaster was unable to provide a recording of the broadcast. The Authority however noted that on the basis of the information before it, it appeared unlikely the broadcast amounted to a breach of privacy. The Authority also recorded its expectation that broadcasters retain recordings of broadcasts for 35 days following the broadcast.

Declined to determine: Privacy
Complaints about Free-to-Air TV Broadcasts

South Taranaki District Council and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2014-149

Campbell Live covered a story about an eader (a pit for raw milk waste) in the town of Eltham in Taranaki that was allegedly making local residents ill. The South Taranaki District Council complained that the item was inaccurate and unfair. The Authority found that this was an important story which carried high public interest and that much of it was accurate and well-reported. Nevertheless, a number of statements conveying the gravity of the problem with the eader did not have a sufficient basis and were overblown, which was misleading and unfair. Accordingly the Authority upheld some aspects of the complaint.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

No Order

Read our media statement about this decision here

Dewhurst and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-040

An episode of Re-Think featured a panel discussion about how to encourage people to care about, and take action on, climate change. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item lacked balance because it did not present the view that climate change is natural and not caused by humans. The item was clearly framed from the outset as not delving into the controversial aspects of climate change or its causes, so viewers would not have expected a balanced debate about those issues. Rather, the programme brought the topic down to a community level and offered practical lifestyle tips.

Not Upheld: Controversial Issues

Wiseman and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-039

During a segment on Paul Henry the host referred to those involved in the Flag Consideration Project as a 'bunch of twats'. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of 'twat' was inappropriate for a breakfast show. The comment was within audience expectations of the host's well-known style of presentation and humour, and unlikely to disturb or offend a significant number of viewers in the context of a news and current affairs programme aimed at adults.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Devereux and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-027

Sunday focused on an initiative by a road safety organisation which creates images of car crash victims as they would appear now. One of the families taking part in this initiative lost their seven-year-old boy, who was killed by drink-driving teenagers 17 years earlier. The incident was briefly recounted, showing footage of the driver of the car and of several passengers. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item breached the privacy of the young people involved in the crash. The crash was a sufficiently serious and well-known event that the facts about it and the individuals' involvement had not become private again through the passage of time. The story carried high public interest and did not revisit the incident in a manner that would be considered highly offensive to an objective reasonable person.

Not Upheld: Privacy

Wignall and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2015-034

The Nation presenters wore poppy pins while they reported on ANZAC Day commemorations. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the removal of the RSA ribbon from the pins offended current norms of good taste and decency and was misleading. While it may have upset some viewers, this was a matter of editorial discretion rather than an issue of broadcasting standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Accuracy

Complaint about Pay TV

Lloyd and SKY Network Television Ltd - 2015-033

Voice of Islam broadcast a speech by a prominent Muslim speaker, in which she discussed the teachings of Islam. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the programme amounted to 'hate speech' and incited violence. The speech clearly comprised the speaker's own interpretation of the teachings of the Qur'an, and did not contain anything which threatened broadcasting standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children, Law and Order, Fairness, Accuracy

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Media News

We have collected a few stories for this month about media regulation and its environment, interesting research, media standards and comings and goings, both in New Zealand and in other jurisdictions. 

New Zealand 

John Campbell to join Radio New Zealand this month

New Zealanders' tolerance for sweary media

Advertising Standards Authority upholds complaint against Hell Pizza

Judge questions 'what the jury didn't know' journalism 


WPA Pool


Ofcom survey on Subscription Video on Demand use 

Jon Stewart endorsement of Book of Mormon musical as 'so f***ing good' ok'd

BBC DJ who said only 'moustachioed' women breastfeed in public suspended    

News programmes broke rules by not disclosing they were sponsored by foreign governments 



Press Council urges more sensitive reporting of violence, sex abuse, race and religion

Australian Communications and Media Authority paper on Decency, Classification and Harm and Offence

Did you know...?

The BSA cannot consider complaints about advertisements for products or services. These complaints can be referred to the Advertising Standards Authority.   
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