BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present
BSA Decisions
Carter and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2023-113 (20 February 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint regarding an item on 1News covering a Hobson’s Pledge campaign against bilingual road signage. The complaint was that the coverage was biased and unfair by suggesting feedback using the Hobson’s Pledge template was ‘bad’, trying to influence how people gave feedback, and only interviewing members of the public in support of bilingual signage. The Authority found the broadcaster provided sufficient balance and the item was not unfair, as Hobson’s Pledge was given an opportunity to comment, and its position was adequately presented in the item. The complaint did not identify any inaccurate statement or reasons why the item was inaccurate, and the discrimination and denigration standard did not apply.

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

GE Free NZ in Food & Environment Inc and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2023-115 (20 February 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint a segment on Paddy Gower Has Issues breached the accuracy, balance and fairness standards of the Code of Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand. The segment included Gower stating he had ‘no issues’ with genetically modified corn, and that the effective ban on GE should be removed. The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding the statements amounted to Gower’s opinion and that the alleged inaccuracy was not materially misleading and would not have impacted the audience’s understanding of the broadcast as a whole. The Authority also found under balance that the segment was clearly intended to provide a particular perspective (Gower’s) on the topic.  While the segment did include a brief image of GE-Free NZ’s logo, the Authority found in the context of the broadcast, the complainant’s participation was minor, and therefore there was no obligation to notify the complainant or provide an opportunity for the complainant to comment.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Carson and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2024-001 (20 February 2024)

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint about comments made by the Political Editor on Newshub Live at 6pm, reporting on the first day of the new Parliament. Comments included that the Speech from the Throne sometimes sounded ‘like a National Party social media video’ and putting to Prime Minister Christopher Luxon ‘that’s National Party spin.’ The complaint alleged this should have been identified as an opinion piece, and the Political Editor should be ‘unbiased’ and stick to news, not adding opinions.

Declined to Determine: Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

Stamilla and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2023-107 (20 February 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that comments made by the Political Editor on Newshub Live at 6pm referring to ‘New Zealand Loyal conspiracy candidate Liz Gunn’s party of two” breached broadcasting standards. The Authority found that the balance standard did not apply. It also found the comment was not unfair noting the party could reasonably expect such robust commentary in the lead up to an election and the party leader had previously described it as a ‘compliment’ to be referred to as a conspiracy theorist.

Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness

Kirkland and Sky Television Network Ltd - 2023-095 (31 January 2024)

The Authority1 has not upheld a complaint an item on Prime News, reporting on reactions to comments made by ACT Party Leader David Seymour on the Ministry for Pacific Peoples, as well as an incident where two men went to the Ministry and filmed staff while asking about expenditure, breached the accuracy standard. The complainant considered the broadcast breached the standard as it gave the misleading impression that two men had threatened staff at the Ministry as a result of Seymour’s statements, and it was inaccurate to suggest the men ‘threatened’ staff when ‘they only filmed staff while asking about spending’. The Authority agreed the broadcast’s introduction could have given the impression the two men went to the Ministry as a direct result of Seymour’s comments (when this occurred prior). While finely balanced, ultimately it considered any inaccuracy was corrected by a clarification of the sequence of events later in the broadcast. It further found while the description the men ‘threatened’ staff may have been technically inaccurate, it was not materially misleading in the context.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Ffowcs-Williams and NZME Radio Ltd - 2023-092 (31 January 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that action taken by NZME Radio Ltd was insufficient, after the broadcaster upheld a complaint under the discrimination and denigration standard about the use of the phrase ‘you’d have to be on the spectrum’ on Newstalk ZB’s Heather du Plessis-Allan Drive programme. As part of a discussion about the ‘political week that was’, political reporter Barry Soper commented, ‘you would have to be on the spectrum to go out there and vote for them [Te Pāti Māori]’, which the complainant considered was discriminatory towards people with autism. The Authority found the broadcaster’s decision to uphold the complaint, apologise to the complainant, and counsel du Plessis-Allan and Soper on the importance of considering the potential offence and impact of comments on sections of the community, was sufficient in the circumstances.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration (Action Taken)

Greyhound Racing New Zealand and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2023-073 (31 January 2024)

The Authority has partially upheld a complaint in relation to the accuracy of a Newshub Live at 6pm item about a person alleged to have harmed greyhounds. It alleged details about the accused were inaccurate and images of an unrelated dog accompanying the report were misleading. The Authority found the relevant details regarding the accused were not materially inaccurate. It found the broadcaster was correct in upholding the complaint initially in relation to the images used, but action taken in response was not sufficient to remedy the likely reputational damage to the handler and industry. The Authority held publication of this decision was sufficient remedy for the breach in all the circumstances.

Upheld: Accuracy (Action Taken)

No Orders

Alderston and NZME Radio Ltd - 2023-110 (31 January 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint a segment of Overnight Talk breached several standards. In the programme, a caller to the show queried the validity of the host’s statement that 1400 Israelis had died in the 7 October 2023 attack by Hamas, and asked what evidence the host had of the attack. The host’s response included suggesting the caller should not be ‘an idiot’, saying he was not going to waste his time, terminating the call and advising the caller that they could see ‘uncensored footage’ of the attack on the ‘deepest, darkest parts of the internet’ if they needed evidence. The Authority found that, within the robust forum of talkback radio, the host’s comments did not reach the threshold for a breach of the offensive and disturbing content standard; did not amount to unfairness to the caller, who had voluntarily participated in the call; and that there was no discrimination or denigration of any section of the community. The accuracy and balance standards did not apply.

Not Upheld: Offensive and Disturbing Content, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy, and Balance

Healy and NZME Radio Ltd - 2023-089 (16 January 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint a segment on the Fletch, Vaughan & Hayley morning show breached the discrimination and denigration standard. In the broadcast, the hosts made several jokes and innuendos about the name of Irish airline Aer Lingus and one host, putting on an Irish accent, stated ‘on the menu today, we have potatoes’. The complainant considered the jokes to be offensive to Irish people and culture, and to amount to racism. The Authority acknowledged the jokes had the potential to offend, but did not uphold the complaint, finding the jokes did not meet the threshold for a breach under the discrimination and denigration standard as they were unlikely to encourage the different treatment of Irish people to their detriment, devalue the reputation of Irish people, or embed negative stereotypes.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Benefield and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2023-069 (16 January 2024)

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint that a promo for ThreeNow programme I am Jazz breached multiple standards. The Authority has previously considered similar complaints concerning the inclusion of members of the rainbow community, including trans people, in programmes and saw no reason to depart from previous findings concerning this matter.

Decline to determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989, in all the circumstances): Offensive and Disturbing Content, Children’s Interests, Balance, Accuracy

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