The Authority has upheld a complaint about a broadcast of The DailyMail TV, finding that footage broadcast during the programme was inappropriate for the PGR classification and time of broadcast, and required an audience advisory for disturbing content. The programme was broadcast at 3.30pm on a weekday, and featured partially censored footage of an American stabbing victim in the moments before she died. While the woman’s injuries were blurred, her distressed facial expression and blood splatters on the floor were visible. A second story featured censored footage of two 19-year-old women who claimed they had been drugged, filmed inside a bar naked and allegedly performing sex acts. The Authority found that this content went beyond what could be expected from a PGR-classified programme broadcast during children’s normally accepted viewing times and that the programme should have been classified AO – Adults Only. Further, the sexual material and disturbing nature of these stories required an audience advisory.
Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests
Order: Section 16(4) – $1,000 costs to the Crown
A complaint about the use of the term ‘holiday highway’ during a 1 News item, to refer to the road between Puhoi and Warkworth, was not upheld. The complainant submitted the term ‘holiday highway’ was ‘Labour Party propaganda’, and that its use minimises the seriousness of the road toll in that area and denigrates people who live in North Auckland or Northland. The Authority noted the term has been widely used in the media for a number of years to refer to the road, including prior to the recent General Election, and found it was not used with the malice or condemnation required to constitute a breach of the discrimination and denigration standard.
Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration
A complaint that an episode of The AM Show breached the balance standard was not upheld. The episode featured multiple segments that addressed various climate change related issues including interviews with a Fonterra representative about its sustainable farming practices, an interview with sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke about their marine conservation initiative ‘Live Ocean’ and a panel discussion about the recently founded Sustainable New Zealand Party. The Authority found that while climate change issues are controversial issues of public importance, none of the segments amounted to unbalanced discussions for the purposes of the standard.
Not Upheld: Balance
Two items broadcast on Te Karere reported on Green MP Marama Davidson’s experiences as part of the ‘Women’s Boat to Gaza’ protest, which aimed to draw attention to Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza. The Authority upheld a complaint that the reporter’s reference during the first item to the ‘illegal’ Israeli blockade was inaccurate. The legality of the blockade was a contentious and unresolved issue, with two UN reports taking conflicting positions on the point. The Authority therefore considered that the broadcaster should have qualified its statement with reference to the disputed legality of the blockade, rather than referring to it unequivocally as illegal. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the balance standard that pro-Israeli viewpoints were omitted from the broadcast, noting that a later broadcast of Te Karere returned to Ms Davidson’s story, and featured an Israeli advocate who provided alternative viewpoints to those expressed in the earlier broadcasts, which was sufficient. While the Authority accepted that precise language was required in relation to ongoing international disputes such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it determined that its decision provided adequate guidance to broadcasters and made no order.
Upheld: Accuracy; Not Upheld: Balance; No Order
A 1 News item reported on an incident involving All Black Aaron Smith. Two witnesses claimed that while on official All Black business, Mr Smith used a disabled toilet in Christchurch Airport for a ‘sexual encounter’ with a woman who was not his partner. The item briefly showed a photo of Mr Smith and his partner. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item breached Mr Smith’s partner’s privacy. Information about her identity and her relationship to Mr Smith was publicly known and had already been the subject of widespread media coverage in relation to the incident prior to the broadcast. This was therefore not information over which she had a reasonable expectation of privacy. The 1 News item also disclosed less information about Mr Smith’s partner than other media outlets had already disclosed. The Authority however noted that it does not automatically follow that the partners and families of public figures are also public figures, and due consideration ought to be given to their individual privacy interests.
Not Upheld: Privacy
The song ‘Smile’ by Lily Allen was broadcast during MORE FM Breakfast with Si and Gary. The song included one muted use of the word ‘fucking’. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the item breached standards of good taste and decency as the word ‘fucking’ was not clearly audible and occurred only once in the song.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
In a ‘Showbiz news’ segment on MORE FM Breakfast, a joke was made about the marriage breakup of Kim Dotcom and his wife. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the joke breached standards of good taste and decency. It was light-hearted and humorous and typical of breakfast radio, and the Dotcoms could reasonably expect some coverage of their breakup.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
Two items on Fair Go investigated claims about a wooden gate manufacturer. Customers were interviewed about their experiences with the company and its director, and the item contained footage, filmed from a public footpath, of the company director at his workshop. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the item breached standards relating to privacy, law and order, controversial issues, fairness, accuracy, discrimination and denigration, and responsible programming: no private facts were disclosed about the director, and footage taken on his property was not broadcast; the impression created about him and his company was based on the opinions of customers, which were exempt from standards of accuracy; the director was provided with a fair and adequate opportunity to respond and the item included comprehensive summaries of his statement; and the broadcast was accurate in all material respects and would not have misled viewers on the essential issues.
Not Upheld: Good taste and Decency, Law and Order, Privacy, Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming
More FM. Radio competition, disclosure of work-place. Upheld (privacy). Action taken sufficient (fairness). No order (apology to complainant sufficient).
More FM news bulletin. Item about firearms included comment from a spokesperson from Gunsafe but nothing from a representative of the Sporting Shooters Association. Declined to determine (balance): no tape or transcript of the item complained about.