In this Bulletin: Note from the Chief Executive, Introducing Alexandra Lewin, Latest Decisions, Media News  
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October 2015

Number 57
Note from the Chief Executive

Kia ora

It’s reporting time for us, so we’re drafting our annual report. We’ve been reflecting on our work over the past year and the context in which we’ve been working. As you all know, it’s still a rapidly changing media environment. Content is now accessible in digital form across multiple devices. Media providers increasingly deliver content across various platforms. The integration of social media in our lives means that today New Zealanders are increasingly both media consumers and media contributors, and content is not static but evolves through conversations.

These changes pose challenges for regulation that policymakers all over the world are grappling with. We welcome any discussion on the future of media regulation while acknowledging that determining its appropriate shape is not straightforward. In the meantime, we still work to ensure that we apply standards in a meaningful way in the context of our shifting landscape.

Finally, we hope you'll enjoy reading our profiles of BSA staff, a feature we'll include for the next several months.
Nga mihi

Karen Scott-Howman 


Alexandra Lewin

Executive Administrator/
Communications Assistant 

Before joining us at the BSA, Alex was at Broadcasting School studying Journalism. Prior to that, she was at Victoria University studying Media Studies and Politics. Alex has set up and manages our BSA twitter account, among many other things. She is currently in the process of training for a half marathon and loves dogs.  

Latest Decisions

Complaints about Free-to-Air TV Broadcasts
Aranyi & Others and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-036

At the end of an episode of Seven Sharp, host Mike Hosking offered his views on the incident of Prime Minister John Key's repeated pulling of a café waitress' ponytail. He described the waitress' motivations for speaking out as 'selfish' and 'a puffed up self-involved pile of political bollocks'. The Authority upheld complaints that this was unfair to the waitress. While public figures can expect criticism and robust scrutiny, in the Authority's view the waitress was not a public figure. The format of the 'final word' segment did not allow for a response from the waitress so she was unable to defend herself in this context. The Authority did not uphold the remainder of the complaints. 

Upheld: Fairness

Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration

No Order

Read our media release about this decision

Murray and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-041

A presenter on the satirical cooking programme Posh Nosh, broadcast on ANZAC Day, described the presentation of food on a plate as 'dreadful, stacked up like dead soldiers in a trench'. The presenter also described the placement of a lemon on a fish as looking like 'I've got a yellow hat up my bottom'. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that these comments were offensive and inappropriate. The programme was unrelated to ANZAC Day and the comments would not have offended most reasonable viewers in context.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

White and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-042

An item on Fair Go investigated a case of alleged elder financial abuse by a man, P against a 90-year-old woman, E. The programme also featured P's 'mentor' (M), a spokesperson from E's bank and comment from E and her grandson. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item was unfair, inaccurate and unbalanced. Both P and M were given a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment, the broadcaster made reasonable efforts to ensure the item was accurate and the item did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance which required the presentation of alternative views.

Not Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy, Controversial Issues

Insley & Soryl and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2015-028

A segment on Breakfast featured an interview with the chair of the Eating Disorders Association, who discussed that some individuals may mask eating disorders with particular 'fad diets'. Although the chair did not specifically mention veganism, banners shown on-screen during the segment read, 'Fears teens use veganism to restrict food intake' and 'Fears people use veganism to restrict food intake'. The Authority did not uphold complaints that the banners were misleading by suggesting veganism was an eating disorder and encouraged bullying of vegans. Viewers would not have been misled by the broadcast as a whole or encouraged to bully vegans. In any case, vegans are not a section of the community to which the discrimination and denigration standard applies.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness, Responsible Programming

Complaint about Pay TV Broadcast
McCaw and SKY Network Television Ltd - 2015-011

The music video for Nicki Minaj's song 'Only' was broadcast on MTV at 6.50pm, in a segment classified MC. The Authority upheld the complaint that the numerous expletives and sexual references in the video were distasteful and unsuitable for uncensored broadcast at a time when younger viewers were watching. The video was incorrectly classified MC when it should have been 16LC and the explicit adult content exceeded audience expectations of the MC classification. The incorrect classification also meant that filtering technology would not have been as effective in preventing children from viewing the video as it should have been.

Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children

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

Read our media release about this decision here
Complaint about Radio Broadcast

Yates and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2015-046

An item on Worldwatch reported on a request from the Iraqi Prime Minister to President Obama for continued assistance in defeating Islamic State militants in his country. Another item reported on a rally which took place in Nigeria's capital to mark the first anniversary of the abduction of some 200 school girls by the 'terrorist group Boko Haram'. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the use of the terms 'Islamist terrorism' and 'terrorist' was selective and denigrated people who follow Islam. The references were accurate, did not carry any invective and were not exclusive to Islamic groups so the programme as a whole could not be considered to encourage discrimination against, or the denigration of, all people of the Islamic religion. The complainant did not specify who he believed had been treated unfairly.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness

Click here for all of the latest BSA decisions
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Media News

Each month we collect a few stories about media regulation and its environment, interesting research, media standards and comings and goings, both in New Zealand and in other jurisdictions. 

New Zealand 

NZ On Air's webseries fund attracts a record number of applications

Media commentator Gavin Ellis on Scout

Images of death in the news

Pouroto Ngaropo Māori TV's new Tumuaki Pmanawa Tāngata (Head of People, Language & Culture)

NZME and the challenges of integrated news

Banned TV shows: A history

Rugby tests to be available free-to-air in the Pacific



Torture reconstructions on current affairs show to be investigated by Ofcom

Opinion: Portrayal of Muslims by mainstream media  

Ofcom finds documentary showing 4-year-old in Hooters outfit breached standards

Russian-backed news channel RT breached standards by suggesting BBC staged Syrian chemical attack

TV show poll asking 'Is it ever a woman's fault if she is raped?' avoids Ofcom investigation


Did you know...?

Both complainants and broadcasters have the right to appeal any BSA decision to the High Court.  
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