Frequently asked questions Ngā Pātai e Kaha Whiua Nei

TV and Radio

The BSA does not generally have the power to cancel programmes or take them off air. In some cases, if we uphold a complaint, we can order that further programmes in a series are not shown, or that a broadcaster can’t broadcast for a time (up to 24 hours for each programme for which a complaint has been upheld). This power is used rarely.

We cannot generally stop a programme from airing. If you’re concerned about whether scheduled content should be aired, contact the broadcaster.

Read about what we do and the orders we can make.

We do not approve programmes before they’re aired or make decisions about what can be aired. Programme selection, editorial and scheduling decisions are the responsibility of broadcasters. If you’re concerned about whether scheduled content should be aired, contact the broadcaster.

If you’d like to complain about a broadcast once it has aired, you can find more information here

Broadcaster contact details

No. The BSA can only respond to formal complaints about content once it has been broadcast. We can’t take any action before a programme is aired, unless it falls within the BSA’s limited power to stop further programmes in a series.

If you have concerns about a programme before it airs, these are best directed to the broadcaster.

No. The Broadcasting Standards Codebook describes the classifications (ratings) that broadcasters must use for programmes. Broadcasters carry out the appraisal and classification of individual programmes.

If you have questions about a programme’s classification, these are best directed to the broadcaster. If you think the classification wasn’t adequate, you can make a formal complaint to the broadcaster in the first instance.

The broadcaster must decide the language in a warning or audience advisory under the broadcasting standards. We don’t review these or provide examples, as the wording required will be context-specific.

If you think a warning wasn’t adequate, you can make a formal complaint to the broadcaster in the first instance.

We don’t make programme scheduling decisions. This is the responsibility of broadcasters. You can give feedback to the broadcaster about the time a programme is shown.

If you believe a programme aired at an unsuitable time, you can make a formal complaint to the broadcaster in the first instance.

For guidance on which standards apply see choosing a standard.

The BSA has no such powers. We become involved only when formal complaints come to us about specific programmes.

We can’t give specific advice on whether a programme might breach standards, as this could risk pre-determining the Authority’s views if we received a complaint.

We can give general guidance about broadcasting standards and factors the Authority may consider.

All our previous decisions are published on our website. These contain guidance and you can see if we’ve considered a similar issue.

A publicity notice is a promo by a broadcaster on how to make complaints. Broadcasters are required by law to air these so people know they can complain if they think a programme has breached broadcasting standards.

For more information, see Publicity Notices.