BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Group Against Liquor Advertising and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1996-045

Members
  • J M Potter (Chair)
  • R McLeod
  • L M Loates
  • A Martin
Dated
Complainant
  • Group against Liquor Advertising (GALA)
Number
1996-045
Programme
One Network News
Channel/Station
TV One


Summary

The forthcoming day-night cricket game between New Zealand and Zimbabwe was

dealt with in an item of sports news broadcast on One Network News between

6.00–7.00pm on 2 February 1996. Team member Dipak Patel was shown, first, taking a

catch in a day-night game in Sydney eight years earlier, and secondly, bowling in the

nets in preparation for the Zimbabwe game. A sign for DB beer was seen tied to the

nets.

On behalf of the Group Against Liquor Advertising, GALA, the Complaints Secretary

(Cliff Turner) complained to Television New Zealand Ltd that the item breached the

Compliance Addendum attached to the Voluntary Sports Code which is appended to the

Programme Standards for the Promotion of Liquor. As guideline 6 of the Standards

acknowledges that a breach of principles contained in the Addendum would almost

inevitably result in a breach of the standards, he maintained that the broadcast breached

the Programme Standard requiring broadcasters to minimise the incidental promotion of

liquor.

On the basis that the shots of Dipak Patel were highly relevant to the story, and that the

brief shot of the signage was a normal feature of the situation being televised, TVNZ

declined to uphold the complaint. Dissatisfied with TVNZ's decision, Mr Turner on

GALA's behalf referred the complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under

s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

For the reasons below, a majority of the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.


Decision

The members of the Authority have viewed the item complained about and have read the

correspondence (summarised in the Appendix). As is its practice, the Authority

determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

The forthcoming day-night cricket match between Zimbabwe and New Zealand was the

subject of an item of sports news included on One Network News broadcast between

6.00–7.00pm on 2 February 1996. Referring to the team's success in previous day-

night games, New Zealand player Dipak Patel was shown taking a boundary catch in a

game in Australia in 1988. That was followed by a shot of the same player bowling in

the nets while preparing for the game to which the item referred. During part of this

sequence, a sign for DB beer was seen tied to the nets.

On behalf of GALA, Cliff Turner complained to TVNZ that the shot of the

advertisement for DB beer contravened the requirements of Rules 1.3, 1.4, 2.1 and 3.2

of the Compliance Addendum to the Voluntary Sports Code. In view of guideline 6 of

the Programme Standards for the Promotion of Liquor, he continued, the shot breached

standard A3 of the Programme Standards.

The Rules in the Addendum cited by GALA provide:

1. National Sports Organisations shall:-

1.3 Ensure that affiliates do not arrange extra Ôsignage' at venues (eg

     inflatable bottle in the in-goal area).

1.4 Ensure that there are no contrived promotions at match venues or

      news conferences.


2. Liquor Companies shall:-

2.5 Advise athletes or administrators that they must not participate in

     contrived on-camera liquor promotions at match venues, in a studio

     situation or at a news conference.


3. Broadcasters shall:-

3.2 Discourage athletes, coaches or administrators from appearing in

     contrived on-camera liquor promotions at match venues, in a studio

     situation or at a news conference.


Guideline 6 reads:

6. Rules 1.1–1.6 of the Voluntary Sports Code for Liquor Advertising and

Promotion on Television cover the positioning and the amount of ground

signage, product usage on camera, the size of the logos on uniforms of

players and administrators when they are filmed for television broadcasts

and the wearing of branded sports apparel on other, non-sport related

television programmes. The broadcast of material which breaches Rule

1.1–1.6 of the Voluntary Sports Code or the principles of the Compliance

Addendum to that code will almost invariably breach the Programme

Standards for the Promotion of Liquor, particularly A1 and A3.


Standard A3 of the Programme Standards states:

A3 Broadcasters shall ensure that the incidental promotion of liquor is

minimised.


TVNZ focussed on the requirement in standard A3 and, pointing to the link between the

visuals of Dipak Patel eight years ago and the present time, described the shot of him at

practice as relevant. As the DB sign occupied a small part of the screen only and as it

was signage allowed by Guideline 8 in that it was "a normal feature of the situation

being televised", TVNZ declined to uphold the complaint.

When he referred GALA's complaint to the Authority, Mr Turner argued that the sign

was temporary – rather than a normal feature of the situation – and maintained that the

item breached the Rules in the Compliance Addendum. He considered that the

Addendum had to be adhered to, otherwise:

The breweries take every opportunity to place material promoting their products

when television cameras are to be present at events featuring beer-sponsored

teams. The NZ Sports Assembly appears unable to prevent this and broadcasters

continue to give the breweries the incidental promotion they seek.


The Authority notes that it is not a party to the Voluntary Sports Code or the

Compliance Addendum. Thus a breach of the Rules of either is not automatically a

contravention of the Programme Standards. However, because it supports the purposes

of the Code and the Addendum, it accepts that a breach of either can be used as evidence

in support of an argument that that breach transgresses the principles contained in the

Programme Standards for the Promotion of Liquor. This point is clearly apparent from

Guideline 6 – recorded above – where it is stated explicitly that a breach of the principles

in the Compliance Addendum will almost invariably breach either standard A1 or A3.


The principle contained in the Rules cited by GALA equates with the principle contained

in standard A3 – ie that the incidental promotion of liquor shall be minimised. The

Rules could be considered to elaborate a little on this principle in that incidental

promotion, when contrived, is not only to be minimised but also to be negligible.


The Authority is required to consider the item complained about on this basis. It is

divided in its conclusion. It is unanimous in acknowledging that the DB sign seemed to

be attached to the nets on a temporary basis – partially at least in order to appear in

televised shots of the players practising. The Authority accepts that the incidental

promotion in these circumstances is not a normal feature – as allowed by Guideline 8 –

and therefore must be negligible. The majority concludes that this standard was not

transgressed by the sports item. Dipak Patel is the initial focus of the players at practice

and then it clearly moves to the batsman practising his stroke. For the majority, the

liquor sign was an insignificant background feature of absolute minimal importance.

The minority accepts that the shot of the signage was barely visible. However, it is of

the opinion that the reference to a "contrived" promotion in the Rules requires a greater

emphasis on this aspect when assessing a complaint which alleges that a breach of the

Compliance Addendum also amounts to a breach of A3. Although the promotion

verged on the inconsequential, it was contrived and thus, a minority of the Authority

believes, it was of a sufficient degree of visibility to amount to a breach of standard A3.

 

For the reasons above a majority of the Authority declines to uphold the

complaint.


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Judith Potter
Chairperson
22 April 1996


Appendix

GALA's Complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd - 3 February 1996

The Complaints Secretary (Cliff Turner) for the Group Against Liquor Advertising,

GALA, complained to Television New Zealand Ltd about an item of cricket news

included in the One Network News sports section broadcast between 6.00 - 7.00pm on

Friday 2 February 1996.

Mr Turner said the item referred to New Zealand cricketer, Dipak Patel, and he was

shown bowling in the nets. He continued:

At the back of the nets an advertisement for DB Draught was prominently

displayed. It was clear that the advertisement was not a permanent fixture but had

been placed in a way that contravened Rule 1.3, 1.4, 2.1 and 3.2 of the

Compliance Addendum to the Voluntary Sports Code.

Pointing out that guideline 6 of the Programme Standards for the Promotion of Liquor

stated a breach of the Compliance Addendum would almost invariably breach the

standards, Mr Turner said the shot had no central relevance to the item. He concluded:

Since the story line did not necessitate the shot at the nets I believe that the

exposure of the DB advertisements also breached Programme Standard A3.

TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint - 20 February 1996

Assessing the complaint under standard A3 of the Programme Standards, TVNZ

maintained that GALA had missed the point of the shot. "It was, in fact, not a shot that

could have been substituted by almost any other". TVNZ explained:

Visually the story was attempting to link one of the dazzling moments of New

Zealand's performance in overseas day-night matches, with the fact that the first

such match was to be held here. The success of New Zealanders abroad was

recalled through the use of the memorable shot of Dipak Patel taking a magnificent

boundary catch in 1988.

There is a natural and relevant visual link with Dipak Patel preparing to play in the

Napier day-nighter and the script reinforced the visual link with the words "eight

years on from that catch ..."

As the shot could not be replaced by one of the other players, TVNZ noted that the

appearance of the DB signage was brief and only occupied a small section of the screen.

It also described the sign as "a normal feature of the situation being televised" as

permitted by guideline 8. It declined to uphold the complaint.

GALA's Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 25

February 1996

When he referred GALA's complaint to the Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the

Broadcasting Act 1989, Mr Turner commented that TVNZ had not considered the

complaint against the requirements of the Compliance Addendum.

Arguing that the signage was not a normal feature but a temporary sign tied to the back

of the nets, Mr Turner pointed out that the Addendum prohibited "extra signage" and

"contrived promotions". He also argued that the brevity of the shot was of no relevance

as it had been placed in a position to obtain editorial coverage.

Mr Turner acknowledged that there was some significance in showing Dipak Patel -

although he could have been filmed away from the nets to which the signage was

attached - and, he concluded:

The breweries take every opportunity to place material promoting their products

when television cameras are to be present at events featuring a beer-sponsored

team. The NZ Sports Assembly appears unable to prevent this and broadcasters

continue to give the breweries the incidental promotion they seek.

The Authority, by taking strong action, is the only agency that can put an end to

these practises.

TVNZ's Response to the Authority - 6 March 1996

TVNZ had little to add to its letter to the Authority. It repeated the argument that the

signage was "a normal feature of the situation being televised" and maintained that it had

met the requirement in the standard to minimise the exposure of liquor promotions.

GALA's Final Comment - 14 March 1996

On GALA's behalf, Mr Turner pointed out that Guideline 6 of the Standards provided

that non-compliance with the Compliance Addendum would "almost invariably" result

in a breach of standards. He then pointed out that the provisions in the Addendum cited

prohibited "contrived" on-camera liquor promotions. Mr Turner concluded:

TVNZ says that it does not have the right to remove advertising signage but

ignores the fact that sports organisations and liquor companies do not have the

right to insist that liquor promotions shall appear on television.