BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present
BSA Decisions
Hagger and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-032 (14 September 2020)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview conducted with then-Minister of Health, Dr David Clark, on his breaches of the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 ‘lockdown rules’. The complainant argued that the interview amounted to harassment and bullying, and breached the fairness standard. The Authority found that the robust questioning was within the scope of what could be expected of a public figure being interviewed on a matter of significant public interest, particularly given the expectation as to how politicians will be treated by the media.

Not Upheld: Fairness

McGovern and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-050 (14 September 2020)

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that comments made by Paul Henry during Rebuilding Paradise with Paul Henry undermined the Director-General of Health’s directions regarding compliance with COVID-19 Alert-Level conditions. Mr Henry noted there were no new cases of COVID-19 on the day of broadcast and commented, ‘I don’t want Dr Ashley Bloomfield to threaten me and you with the “if New Zealanders aren’t good at Level 3, they won’t get to Level 2” warning. I realise people think he walks on water, but I don’t. …Obedience in the population is the job of the police and, god help us, the reluctant [Police] Commissioner’. Noting the importance of the right to freedom of expression and that Mr Henry was clearly giving his views on a topic of high public interest, the Authority found no actual or potential harm that justified regulatory intervention. Mr Henry is well known for offering strong, sometimes controversial, opinions and at the time of broadcast a wide range of information and alternative views were available to the public regarding the importance of complying with the Government’s Alert-Level conditions. The comments did not actively encourage non-compliance or seriously undermine law and order. Nor did they result in Dr Bloomfield or the Police Commissioner being treated unfairly. Given their high-profile positions, they can reasonably expect to be the subject of robust scrutiny and a wide range of media coverage and commentary.

Not Upheld: Law and Order, Balance, Fairness, Accuracy, Programme Information

Shierlaw and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-039 (14 September 2020)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a Newshub Live broadcast reporting on the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s treatment for COVID-19 was inaccurate when it referred to President Donald Trump as ‘the world’s leading expert on fake news’. The Authority considered the statement was distinguishable as a statement of opinion and accordingly the accuracy standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy


Harvey and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-023 (24 August 2020)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the use of the term ‘bugger’ by weather presenter Dan Corbett during a broadcast of Seven Sharp. The Authority considered the term constituted low level coarse language which would not have offended a significant number of listeners in the context of the broadcast.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Marshall and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-046 (24 August 2020)

Warning: This decision contains coarse language that some readers may find offensive

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that use of the word ‘cunt’ in the New Zealand crime drama series, One Lane Bridge, breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority observed that the standard is not intended to prevent the broadcast of legitimate drama and considered that the threshold for its intervention had not been reached. It determined that use of the word, in its context, did not contain the level of malice or nastiness required to find a breach of the discrimination and denigration standard and did not amount to hate speech or a sustained attack on women as a section of the community.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Nixey and NZME Radio Ltd - 2020-037 (24 August 2020)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a satirical segment would have been offensive to Christians. The segment was an imagined promo for reality show The Block, set in Jerusalem and featured contestants who shared the names of biblical figures, including Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Thomas and Judas. The promo was broadcast on Good Friday. The Authority did not consider the broadcast’s content would have unduly offended or distressed the general audience, and it did not reach the high threshold necessary for finding it encouraged the denigration of, or discrimination against, Christians as a section of the community. The broadcast did not cause actual or potential harm at a level which justified limiting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Pink and Radio New Zealand -2020-036 (24 August 2020)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that segments on the News and Morning Report reporting on a murder suicide breached the good taste and decency, children’s interests and violence standards. The Authority noted the public interest in the broadcasts and audience’s awareness of the need to exercise discretion during news programming to regulate what their children are exposed to. The Authority also found that the News bulletins covering the item did not reach the threshold necessary to require a warning and that the warning that preceded the Morning Report item was sufficient to enable audiences to make informed choices as to whether they, or children in their care, should listen to the broadcast.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, and Violence.

Wilson and NZME Radio Ltd - 2020-030 (24 August 2020)

On an episode of Simon Barnett and Phil Gifford Afternoons, an expert and the hosts made inaccurate statements about the Government’s COVID-19 economic recovery package shortly after its announcement. The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the broadcast breached the accuracy standard, finding that the broadcaster had made reasonable efforts to ensure the programme did not mislead and had promptly corrected the error. The Authority highlighted the importance of information broadcast by experts being accurate and, consequently, the importance of any errors being corrected as soon as possible.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Knight and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-020 (4 August 2020)

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that two guest panellists’ comments on The AM Show about English rugby players following the Rugby World Cup final breached the discrimination and denigration standard. Discussing some players’ refusal to wear their silver medals after losing the final, the panellists made comments including that the English players were ‘pouty little babies, pathetic, stupid, dumb, bad sportsmanship’, ‘petulant English kids’, ‘prats’, ‘it’s their upbringing’, ‘those English players who wanted to toss their medals on the ground’. The complaint was that these comments were nasty and offensive, and ‘racist’ by suggesting ‘it’s [the players’] upbringing’. The Authority noted the large majority of the comments were clearly directed at the individual players concerned, rather than commenting on a group of people. In the context, the only comment that could be interpreted as extending beyond the individual players (‘it’s their upbringing’), did not reach the high threshold for finding the broadcast encouraged the denigration of, or discrimination against, all English people as a section of the community. The panellists’ comments were clearly opinion meaning they were not subject to the accuracy standard, and they did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance so the balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy, Balance

Marino and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2020-019 (4 August 2020)

In an episode of Mai Home Run, one of the radio presenters related a story about accidentally taking and not returning a bag containing items, including a gaming console, belonging to Lil’ Romeo. The presenter also disclosed the name of one of the people involved in the story. The Authority upheld the complaint that the item breached the privacy standard, finding that the named individual was identifiable and would have had a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to the information disclosed. The Authority also found the disclosure to be highly offensive to a reasonable person, as it had the potential to significantly damage the named person’s reputation. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the law and order standard, finding that in context the broadcast did not encourage or actively promote serious anti-social or illegal behaviour. The Authority also did not uphold the complaint under the discrimination and denigration standard, finding that, in the context, the item did not encourage discrimination against or denigration of the Māori or Polynesian communities.

Upheld: Privacy

Not upheld: Law and order, discrimination and denigration

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