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 - 1997-005

Members
  • J M Potter (Chair)
  • R McLeod
  • L M Loates
  • A Martin
Dated
Complainant
  • Group against Liquor Advertising (GALA)
Number
1997-005
Programme
One Network News
Channel/Station
TV One
Standards Breached


Summary

A news conference for visiting former soccer star George Best was covered in an item

of sports news on One Network News broadcast between 6.00–7.00pm on

Wednesday 6 November 1996.

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

prominent signage for Guinness stout behind Mr Best breached the standards relating to

the incidental promotion of liquor.

Acknowledging that insufficient effort had been made to minimise the exposure of the

Guinness signage, TVNZ upheld the complaint. It advised that the staff involved had

received written admonitions and it had been arranged for all new news staff to attend a

course dealing with the requirements of the liquor codes.

Dissatisfied with the extent of the action taken in view of past breaches, 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, the Authority upholds the complaint that the action taken was

insufficient and orders Television New Zealand Ltd to pay to the Crown the sum of

$500.00 by way of costs.


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.

Visiting former soccer star, George Best, gave a news conference which was reported

as an item of sports news on 6 November 1996. Signs promoting Guinness Stout were

clearly apparent behind Mr Best.

On GALA's behalf, Mr Cliff Turner complained to TVNZ that the liquor signage

breached standard A3 of the Programme Code for the Promotion of Liquor which

reads:

A3   Broadcasters will ensure that the incidental promotion of liquor is

minimised.


TVNZ agreed that there had been insufficient effort to minimise the exposure of liquor

signage. It upheld the complaint and advised Mr Turner that it had taken the following

action:

The Executive Editor of News has informed the TVNZ Complaints Committee

that he is extremely concerned about the visual content of this item and has, as a

consequence, ordered that all newcomers to the TVNZ news area, as well as

those moving to the division from other parts of the company, must attend

induction courses at which the requirements of the liquor codes will be

highlighted.

The journalists involved have also received written admonishments for the

careless manner in which the item was put together.

TVNZ regrets this lapse and apologises for it. We believe this will prove an

isolated incident, and hope you will recognise that our news desk has been

extremely diligent in the area of minimising liquor promotion in recent times.


Dissatisfied with the action taken in view of the comments from the Authority in the

past when standard A3 had been breached in relation to a news conference, Mr Turner

referred the matter to the Authority. He maintained that TVNZ's past promises to

exercise greater care had been broken. He referred specifically to Decision No: 94/94

(6 October 1994) when the Authority expressed its concern and annoyance that the

venue for a news conference had been prepared in such a way that television coverage

would almost inevitably contravene the standards. That decision involved a news

conference organised by a sporting organisation and the Authority observed that it did

not expect sports bodies to place broadcasters in such an invidious position again.

TVNZ advised that Mr Best's visit was not organised by anyone affiliated to the NZ

Sports Assembly. Rather, it was organised by two individuals with sponsorship

support from Guinness.

The Authority agrees with GALA that TVNZ's coverage of this news conference

seemed to suggest that it displays a casual attitude to the standard relating to incidental

liquor promotion. Nevertheless, it also accepts that TVNZ takes its responsibilities

seriously most of the time, as is indicated by the relatively small number of complaints

received about television coverage of news conferences where liquor sponsorship is

involved. The assessment of this complaint involves a question of balance.

The breach was blatant on this occasion. While the Authority applauds TVNZ for its

recent implementation of training programmes, it is left wondering why such courses

were not already in operation – especially given the concern about incidental liquor

promotion which, it says, it has held for some time.

By the Broadcasting Amendment Act 1996, the Authority was given the power to order

a broadcaster to pay costs to the Crown of up to $5,000. Given the blatant nature of the

present breach, and the history of complaints involving the Code for the Promotion of

Liquor, the Authority decides that an order for costs of $500 is appropriate.

 

For the above reasons, the Authority upholds the complaint that the

action taken by Television New Zealand Ltd, having upheld the

complaint about the incidental liquor promotion of One Network News

on 6 November 1996, is insufficient.


Order

Pursuant to s.16(4) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 (as amended in 1996),

the Authority orders Television New Zealand Ltd to pay $500 to the

Crown by way of costs within one month of the date of this decision.


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Judith Potter
Chairperson
23 January 1997

Appendix


GALA's Complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd – 7 November 1996

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

complained to Television New Zealand Ltd about an item of sports news broadcast on

One Network News on TV One between 6.00–7.00pm on 6 November 1996.

The item involved visiting former soccer star George Best at what appeared to be a

news conference. As advertising for Guinness stout was prominent behind Mr Best,

Mr Turner said that the item breached the standards.

If Mr Best's visit was organised by a group affiliated to the New Zealand Sports

Assembly, Mr Turner continued, the item also involved a breach of the Assembly's

Voluntary Code.

TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint – 19 November 1996

TVNZ assessed the complaint about the item which featured George Best at a news

conference, and which showed Guinness signage, under standard A3 of the Television

Code of Broadcasting Practice. TVNZ stated:

TVNZ has reviewed the item and agrees with your assessment that on this

occasion insufficient effort was made to minimise the exposure of the Guinness

signage which was present at the news conference.


The investigation into your complaint has revealed that a new camera operator

was assigned to this item and that person had not, apparently, been informed of

the special standards requirements that apply to the promotion of liquor.


Advising that the complaint was upheld, TVNZ reported that as a consequence of this

complaint all newcomers to the TVNZ news area would in future attend induction

courses at which the requirements of the liquor codes would be highlighted. As for the

current item:

The journalists involved have also received written admonishments for the

careless manner in which the item was put together.


TVNZ said that the New Zealand Sports Assembly and its affiliates had not been

involved in the visit, and concluded:

TVNZ regrets this lapse and apologises for it. We believe this will prove an

isolated incident, and hope you will recognise that our news desk has been

extremely diligent in the area of minimising liquor promotion in recent times.


GALA's Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority  – 21 November 1996

Dissatisfied with the extent of the action taken, Mr Turner on GALA's behalf referred

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

Broadcasting Act 1989.

Mr Turner argued that TVNZ had not taken to heart the Authority's warnings contained

in Decision Nos: 61/94 and 94/94.

TVNZ's Report to the Authority – 3 December 1996

In its report to the Authority, TVNZ pointed out that it had concurred with GALA that

the incidental promotion of Guinness was insufficiently minimised during the item.

It said that it had little to add other than to emphasise that TVNZ took the matter

seriously, adding that the item had been used as an example in training journalists of the

dangers of reporting when incidental liquor promotion was present.


GALA's Final Comment – 10 December 1996

On GALA's behalf, Mr Turner advised by telephone that he did not wish to comment

further.