BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present
BSA Decisions
Chapman and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2022-108 (8 February 2023)

The Authority did not uphold a complaint an item on 1 News reporting on the verdict of the Kyle Rittenhouse trial in the United States breached broadcasting standards. The complainant considered the item inaccurate and unbalanced as it allegedly misrepresented events around the trial including the origins of the protest, the presiding Judge, and the public’s response to the verdict. The Authority considered the broadcast was materially accurate given its focus on the verdict from the trial. Any inaccuracies were unlikely to significantly affect viewers’ understanding of the item. The balance and discrimination and denigration standards did not apply, and the fairness standard was not breached.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness

Dobson and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2022-118 (8 February 2023)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint two items on 1 News reporting on a political poll and interviewing several New Zealanders on the street breached multiple broadcasting standards. The complainant alleged the proportion of people interviewed was not an accurate or balanced representation of the political mood of the country, which was unfair to political parties, and certain comments constituted discrimination and denigration, or were inaccurate or unfair. The Authority held it was not a breach of broadcasting standards to feature ‘vox-pop’ interviews in proportions that do not match current political polling, and the standards either did not apply or were not breached in relation to other issues raised by the complainant concerning the broadcast.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

Kern and NZME Radio Ltd - 2022-115 (30 January 2023)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment during Days with Lorna Subrtizky on Coast FM discussing Sylvester Stallone’s recent divorce. As part of the segment, the host joked, ‘When he was interviewed about it, Sly Stallone had this to say…’ and played a clip of Stallone garbling unintelligibly, with only the word ‘Rocky’ able to be made out. The complainant considered this to be a cruel and insensitive joke which made fun of Stallone’s (and by implication, others’) disability affecting his speech, in breach of the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority found the joke was directed only at Stallone as an individual, and did not extend to a section of the community as required under the standard. In any event, the broadcast would not have reached the threshold required for finding a breach.  

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association Inc and Discovery NZ Inc - 2022-084 (30 January 2023)

The Authority has upheld a complaint about an item on Newshub Live at 6pm that discussed the alleged misuse of public funds for safety improvements at a greyhound racetrack. The complainant alleged the programme did not present a balanced view of the issue and misled the audience on key facts regarding what action was taken at the raceway. The Authority found the item was presented in a way that favoured the perspectives of those critical of the racing club’s actions, without giving reasonable opportunities to provide balance from the other side of the story. The Authority also found that a collection of factual errors in the item meant, overall, viewers were materially misled.

Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

Kellett and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2022-109 (30 January 2023)

A segment on Seven Sharp reported on an electric tugboat named ‘Sparky’ going to meet the first cruise ship to come to Auckland following the COVID-19 pandemic. Sparky was described as ‘the world’s first fully electric ship-handling tug,’ which the complainant alleged was inaccurate. While the Authority acknowledged that this detail was likely technically inaccurate, in the context of a human interest piece focused on Sparky’s mechanical features, it found this was unlikely to significantly affect viewers’ understanding of the item as a whole.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Dobson, Tocker, Takitimu, & Bate and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-107 (20 December 2022 )

The Authority has not upheld complaints under the accuracy, balance and fairness standards from several complainants about a broadcast of AM on 1 September 2022. The morning news broadcast contained two segments about a recent ‘backtrack’ by the Government on a proposal to apply GST to management services supplied to managed funds (including KiwiSaver). During the first segment, this was described as ‘a tax on your retirement savings’. In the second segment, the specifics of the proposed tax were clarified: ‘technically it wasn't a tax on KiwiSaver funds, it was a tax on the fees applied to KiwiSaver funds’. The Authority found the alleged inaccuracy in the first segment was immaterial to the audience’s understanding of the broadcast as a whole, and mitigated by the second segment where a more detailed description of the proposal was provided. The Authority also found the broadcaster sufficiently presented significant viewpoints in the circumstances. The fairness standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Marston and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2022-117 (20 December 2022)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a segment on The Morning Rumble featuring ‘songs that I can guarantee won’t be played’ at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral breached the offensive and disturbing content standard. One of the songs was ‘Another One Bites the Dust’ by Queen, which the complainant considered was in bad taste. The Authority found the segment was within audience expectations of the radio station and the programme, and sufficiently signposted to allow listeners an opportunity to exercise choice and control. Therefore it was unlikely to cause widespread disproportionate offence or distress or otherwise undermine widely shared community standards.

Not Upheld: Offensive and Disturbing Content

Vercoe and Te Aratuku Whakaata Irirangi Māori - 2022-106 (20 December 2022)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a broadcast of Artefact was unbalanced. The complainant alleged the programme’s description of events in the New Zealand Wars did not include the historical perspectives of settlers and the government. However, the Authority held that while the reasons for and nature of the New Zealand Wars (and associated events) are of public importance, these issues are not ‘controversial’ in the manner contemplated under the balance standard.

Not Upheld: Balance

Smith-West and Discovery NZ - 2022-110 (20 December 2022)

An item on Newshub Live at 6pm reported on artist Tāme Iti correcting the spelling of his name on an artwork by Dean Proudfoot. After the item aired, the host commented ‘fair enough.’ The complainant considered this comment breached the promotion of illegal or antisocial behaviour standard by justifying Iti’s actions, thereby encouraging illegal behaviour (alleged vandalism). The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding the brief, off the cuff comment was unlikely to encourage illegal or antisocial behaviour.

Not Upheld: Promotion of Illegal or Antisocial Behaviour

Franklin and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-113 (20 December 2022)

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that two items on Newshub Live at 6pm breached the offensive and disturbing content, and children’s interests standards. The programme included interviewees using the terms ‘shit’ and ‘holy shit’. Considering relevant contextual factors, the BSA’s guidelines on low-level language, and the expectation children are supervised when watching the news, the Authority found the relevant language was not at a level meriting regulatory intervention.

Not Upheld: Offensive and Disturbing Content, and Children’s Interests

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