The Authority has not upheld a complaint concerning an election programme for the National Party. The complainant considered the programme misled the public by giving ‘the impression’ the National Party’s policies would support public services, which was in ‘direct contradiction to their proposed policies’. The Authority considered listeners would have understood the programme as a typical advertisement for the Party, encouraging the public to vote for National. By their nature, such programmes are not factual and are often hyperbolic vehicles for advocacy. Further, it is not the Authority’s role to analyse the likely implications of any Party’s policies (which are not quantified promises, guarantees, or statements of fact), and listeners are able to form their own views about any given policy with reference to the broad range of available media coverage and other publicly available information.
Not Upheld: Election Programme Advocacy – Distinguishing Factual Information from Opinion or Advocacy
The Authority has declined to determine a complaint the use of the term ‘iTaukei’ to refer to indigenous Fijians breached the discrimination and denigration standard. In light of the Authority’s previous finding that a similarly innocuous use of the term did not breach broadcasting standards, the Authority considered it appropriate to decline to determine the complaint.
Declined to determine (section 11(b) in all the circumstances the complaint should not be determined): Discrimination and Denigration
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that it was inaccurate and unfair to describe WikiLeaks as a ‘hacktivist’ organisation during a RNZ news bulletin reporting on a rise in hacktivism, and how hacktivists often work together with cyber-criminal groups. The Authority found that the term being used to describe Wikileaks was not a material inaccuracy, given WikiLeaks’ role in the hacktivist ‘ecosystem’. The Authority further found the report was not unfair to WikiLeaks or its founder.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
The Authority has not upheld a complaint an interview on Midday Report with a transgender activist, who discussed whether Immigration New Zealand should allow Posie Parker to enter New Zealand, breached the accuracy, balance and fairness standards. The complainant considered: the host’s description of Parker as an ‘anti-trans activist,’ along with other comments made by the interviewee, were inaccurate; the host was biased; the interview was unbalanced as it did not include the perspective of a women’s rights activist; and that it was unfair to Parker and her supporters. The Authority did not uphold the concerns, finding the broadcast was materially accurate, was clearly approaching the topic from a particular perspective, and did not result in any unfairness.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an episode of The Feed discussing issues faced by rainbow communities breached multiple standards. The complaint alleged the programme, which was aimed at children, was one-sided in favour of the ‘trans lifestyle’ and did not include balancing content about the ‘heterosexual lifestyle’, and accordingly amounted to illegal gender reassignment therapy or grooming. The Authority found the programme content carried high value and public interest by raising and exploring issues and perspectives in relation to rainbow communities, and through promoting diversity and inclusion. It was satisfied the programme would not cause widespread offence or adversely affect children. The other standards either did not apply or were not breached.
Not upheld: Offensive and Disturbing Content, Children’s Interests, Promotion of Illegal or Antisocial Behaviour, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness
The Authority has not upheld a complaint an episode of Sunday breached the complainant’s privacy, and was unfair to the complainant, by broadcasting an image taken on the complainant’s property. The Authority found the complainant was not identifiable for the purposes of the privacy standard, and was not ‘referred to’ in the broadcast for the purposes of the fairness standard.
Not Upheld: Privacy, Fairness
The Authority did not uphold a complaint a report on 1 News showing footage of a homicide at a Raumanga service station breached the offensive and disturbing content and promotion of illegal or antisocial behaviour standards. The complainant considered it was inappropriate to show footage of ‘a murder being committed,’ and that it promoted antisocial behaviour. The Authority found the footage was justified in the context, noting there was no unreasonable or unnecessary degree of graphic detail, news programmes by their nature often feature challenging material, and the introduction to the item (which signposted the ‘confronting video clip’ and included a warning) adequately informed viewers of the nature of the footage, enabling them to choose not to watch. It also noted the public interest in showing the footage given Police’s request for assistance in the matter. The Authority further found the item did not encourage or promote illegal or antisocial behaviour.
Not Upheld: Offensive and Disturbing Content, Promotion of Illegal or Antisocial Behaviour
A news bulletin on Newstalk ZB reported on the upcoming speaking tour of New Zealand by Posie Parker. The complainant considered the item’s portrayal of Parker (including through its tone and description of Parker as an ‘anti-trans rights activist’ and a ‘trans-exclusionary speaker’ rather than a ‘women’s rights campaigner’) was in breach of the balance, fairness, accuracy and discrimination and denigration broadcasting standards. The Authority found the balance standard did not apply as the item was a straightforward news report which did not ‘discuss’ a controversial issue of public importance and, in any event, listeners would have been aware of alternative viewpoints. The Authority also found, given Parker’s views, the descriptions ‘anti-trans rights activist’ and ‘trans-exclusionary speaker’ were fair and accurate. The discrimination and denigration standard did not apply.
Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a joke made on 7 Days breached the offensive and disturbing content standard. The show featured a segment where comedians were asked to come up with scary kids’ shows, to which one of the responses was ‘High School Musical 4: The Active Shooter.’ The complainant alleged this joke was offensive due to recent school shootings in the United States. The Authority found the joke was not outside of audience expectations for the programme, and the nature of the content was sufficiently signposted through audience advisories. In this context, the joke was not likely to widespread undue offence or distress, or undermine widely shared community standards.
Not Upheld: Offensive and Disturbing Content
The Authority has not upheld a complaint a 1 News item on the Ministerial Inquiry into woody debris (including forestry slash) and sediment in Tairāwhiti | Gisborne and Wairoa was inaccurate, due to the inclusion of some background footage of a forest near Tūrangi which had suffered windthrow. The complainant alleged the footage misled the audience to think forest damaged by windthrow was an example of what poor practices in the forestry sector look like. The Authority found the alleged inaccuracy was not material, and would not have significantly impacted viewers’ understanding of the item as a whole.
Not Upheld: Accuracy