The Authority declined to determine a complaint about a promo of The Project as the complainant is responsible for identifying the programme the subject of his complaint1 and his complaint did not appear to relate to the identified broadcast content.
Declined to determine: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Discrimination and Denigration
The Authority has declined to determine a complaint regarding a news item which included a quote from Liz Cheney calling Donald Trump’s claims that he had won the 2020 US Election ‘dangerous lies’. The complainant was concerned about RNZ referring to some politicians as liars but not others. The Authority found the content of the complaint did not relate to the substance of the broadcast, and was not capable of being properly determined by a complaints procedure.
Declined to Determine: Programme Information, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989)
The Authority has declined to determine a complaint about the introduction to a news item on New Zealand Rugby which used the terms ‘blasted’ and ‘bombshell’ immediately after an item reporting on violence in Gaza. The Authority considered that the complaint raised issues which were editorial decisions not properly addressed by broadcasting standards, so should not be determined by the Authority.
Declined to Determine: Good Taste and Decency (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act)
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a ‘Carpool Kōrero’ segment in an episode of Popstars during which a celebrity guest talked to each of the contestants while apparently driving a car. The complainant alleged a young person may have been unable to discern the guest was not in fact driving, and therefore the broadcast breached the law and order standard. The Authority found reasonably attentive viewers would have likely understood the segment took place in a simulated environment and in any case the broadcast was unlikely to encourage audiences to break the law.
Not Upheld: Law and Order
Warning: This decision contains language that some readers may find offensive
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a segment on 95bFM breached the good taste and decency standard. The segment included a broadcaster publicity notice, about the broadcasting standards complaints process, followed by a list of swear words, ‘fuck-knuckles, cock and piss, balls’. The complainant acknowledged this was intended to be ‘irreverently humorous’, but said it ‘conjured unpleasant images of a sexual nature’ in breach of the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found, in the context, and particularly in light of 95bFM’s target and intended audience and its expectations of the radio station, the segment was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress or undermine widely shared community standards.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the accuracy and balance standards about an item discussing the impact of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (the HSNO Act) on medical research, particularly in the context of COVID-19 vaccines. The item contained opinions from three scientists, which were not subject to the factual accuracy requirement and were presented accurately. The item was not required to include detail about how the HSNO Act regulated outdoor use of genetic modification compared to medical or laboratory use, as this was not material to the broadcast. The item also contained differing views, so balance was achieved within the programme.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance
The Authority did not uphold a complaint about questions asked of a New Zealander stranded in India following the Government’s suspension of travel. The complaint alleged the questions breached the law and order standard as they suggested numerous ways the interviewee could avoid the travel ban and illegally return home. The Authority found the questions did not actively encourage illegal activity nor actively undermine law and order, and there was a high public interest in the broadcast.
Not Upheld: Law and Order
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News including criticism of Easter trading restrictions and of the councils imposing them, in the wake of COVID-19 and its impact on retailers. The complainant alleged the item was unbalanced on the basis it failed to include the views of the councils being criticised, and of others who supported current restrictions, such as unions and churches. The Authority found, in the context of an item discussing criticism of the status quo, and where debate about Easter trading restrictions and coverage of such debate is ongoing, viewers were unlikely to be left misinformed by the broadcast.
Not Upheld: Balance
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a comment referring to a sex act during an episode of New Zealand Today, which the host and interviewee both laughed at. The programme was classified 16-LSC, preceded by a full-screen warning and screened at 9pm. Given audience expectations for the programme, the classification, the warning and the scheduling, the Authority found the comment would not cause widespread undue offence and audiences were able to make their own viewing choices. The remaining standards either did not apply or were not breached.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence, Discrimination and Denigration
The Authority has not upheld two complaints about an item on The Project. A presenter commented ‘I think happily we don’t have many Americans in New Zealand so we probably won’t end up in that situation’, in response to a question from another presenter, about whether New Zealanders would start demanding a right to bear arms as in the United States, in light of a recent knife attack. The complainants alleged these comments were discriminatory against Americans, and breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority acknowledged the comments had the potential to cause offence, but found they did not meet the high threshold required to breach the standard and justify restricting the right to freedom of expression.
Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration