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 - 1996-060

Members
  • J M Potter (Chair)
  • R McLeod
  • L M Loates
  • A Martin
Dated
Complainant
  • Group against Liquor Advertising (GALA)
Number
1996-060
Programme
One Network News
Channel/Station
TV One


Summary

The actions of the board of the Auckland Warriors in seeking to have the players

comply with the decision of an Australian court was dealt with in an item of sports news

broadcast between 6.00–7.00 on One Network News on 20 March 1996.

On GALA's behalf, Mr Cliff Turner complained to Television New Zealand Ltd that a

shot of the words "DB Bitter Warriors" on a wall of the Warriors' board room breached

the programme standards relating to the incidental promotion of liquor. Some other

shots from the meeting, he maintained, had set the scene appropriately.

As the shots of the signage were not incidental, but central to the item's point that the

brewery might have to reconsider its sponsorship of the Warriors, TVNZ declined to

uphold the complaint. Dissatisfied with TVNZ's decision, on GALA's behalf Mr

Turner referred the complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a)

of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

For the reasons below, 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 playing careers of members of the Auckland Warriors league team were examined

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

6.00–7.00pm on 20 March. The players' options were considered in light of the legal

disputes between the Australian Rugby League group and some contending

organisations. The chief executive for the Warriors' principal sponsor, DB Breweries,

was interviewed and questioned his company's on-going commitment should the

disputes remain unresolved.

Mr Cliff Turner, GALA's Complaints Secretary, complained to TVNZ about an aspect

of the item which had included a meeting in what was apparently the Warriors' board

room. On the second occasion the meeting was shown, he wrote, the shot included a

sign on the wall referring to the "DB Bitter Warriors". As the sign was not seen during

the first board room shot, it could have been excluded on the second occasion. The

failure to do so, he maintained, was a breach of standard A3 of the Television Code of

Broadcasting Practice. It reads:

A3 Broadcasters will ensure that the incidental promotion of liquor is

minimised.


In reply, TVNZ commented that the reference to sponsorship was not "incidental". As

it had direct relevance to the story which in part dealt with the sponsor's continuing

commitment to the team, it was an integral part of the item. Accordingly, it declined to

uphold the complaint.

When he referred GALA's complaint to the Authority, Mr Turner described TVNZ's

attitude as astonishing. He argued that the comments from DB's chief executive were

sufficient for the story.

TVNZ explained to the Authority that Mr Turner's attitude was influenced by TVNZ's

failure initially to identify the correct item. It had later done so and contended that the

visual of the sign complemented the words expressed. In his response, Mr Turner

referred to some other signage contained in another Warriors' promo and asked whether

the teams' correct name was now the Auckland Warriors rather than the DB Bitter

Warriors.

The Authority acknowledges that Mr Turner's attitude towards TVNZ in regard to this

complaint has been influenced by the broadcaster's failure, through misfiling, to

identify initially the item complained about. However, having done so, the Authority

agrees with TVNZ that it was an occasion where the sign referring to the sponsor was

relevant as sponsorship was being discussed.

Mr Turner noted that the sign was not apparent during an earlier shot of the Board

Room and he contended that it should have been omitted from the second shot. The

Authority is of the view that it was appropriately excluded on the first occasion and

appropriately included on the second as it was relevant to the point being made in the

item at that stage.

 

For the reasons above, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Judith Potter
Chairperson
20 June 1996


Appendix

GALA's Complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd - 21 March 1996

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

(GALA) complained to Television New Zealand Ltd (TVNZ) about an item of sports

news broadcast at about 6.40pm on One Network News on 20 March 1996. He wrote:

The item described the difficulties in which the Auckland Warriors find

themselves and shots of a meeting showed, on two occasions, the words "DB

Bitter Warriors" on a wall in a room where a meeting was taking place. The

meeting appeared to be in the Warrior's Board Room.

Other shots of the meeting were shown, he observed, when the DB signs were not

visible and thus, he maintained, the item could have excluded the signage altogether.

Further, he argued, the scene of the meeting was set appropriately and nothing would

have been lost had other shots been used.

Accordingly, Mr Turner maintained, there had been a breach of the Programme

Standard A3 and Rules 1.4 and 3.5 of the Compliance Addendum of the Voluntary

Sports Code.

TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint - 9 April 1996

Assessing the complaint under standard A3, TVNZ said the item dealt with the efforts

of the board of the Auckland Warriors to persuade the players to abide by the Australian

court decisions.

TVNZ maintained that "incidental" was the key word contained in the standard but on

this occasion:

We would assert that in this case the appearance of the DB Bitter logo was not

incidental, but was directly relevant to the story being told.

It explained:

One aspect of the story was that if the Warriors did not soon return to the field,

their major sponsor might review its position. As the sign on the wall was shown

the commentary said "and the Warriors major sponsor, DB, won't back them

forever if the chaos isn't sorted out". The picture of the DB logo thereby

reinforced the information being delivered verbally - which is, after all, the role of

pictures in a television news bulletin.

It concluded:

There was nothing incidental about this material; it contributed directly to the story

being told. It was deliberately chosen and was an integral part of the news item.

GALA's Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 15 April

1996

Dissatisfied with TVNZ's decision, on GALA's behalf Mr Turner referred it to the

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

Mr Turner described TVNZ's explanation as "astonishing". The shot of the brewery

spokesperson, he insisted, was sufficient to make the point that the brewery might have

to reconsider its sponsorship of the Warriors.

TVNZ's Response to the Authority - 23 April 1996

TVNZ explained that there had been some confusion about the item complained about

as the material had been incorrectly filed. However, the matter was sorted out

satisfactorily.

TVNZ repeated the argument that the boardroom scenes contained in the item were

relevant. In response to Mr Turner's point that the shot of the brewery spokesperson

was sufficient, TVNZ argued that the words and the pictures complemented each other.

GALA's Final Comments - 3 May 1996

Mr Turner on GALA's behalf in response repeated his belief that the shot of the

brewery executive sufficed to establish the link with the brewery.

He also noted that in a recent promo for a forthcoming Warriors' game, they were

described as the Auckland Warriors and a plaque was seen with a similar description.

He wondered whether that that might now be the team's correct name which could

influence the Authority in its determination of the present complaint.