BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Corrin and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1998-010

Members
  • S R Maling (Chair)
  • R McLeod
  • L M Loates
  • J Withers
Dated
Complainant
  • H R Corrin
Number
1998-010
Programme
One Network News
Channel/Station
TV One


Summary

An exhibition dedicated to victims of the Holocaust was the subject of an item on One

Network News, broadcast on TV One beginning at 6.00pm on 26 October 1997. The

report described the exhibition as being located at the Auckland Museum.

Mr Corrin complained to Television New Zealand Limited, the broadcaster, that the

item was inaccurate, and showed disrespect both for the war dead and for the

institution, by not using the correct title of the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

TVNZ responded that "Auckland Museum" was now the commonly-used term to

describe the institution. Noting that the news item conferred proper respect and

dignity upon both victims and survivors of the Holocaust, TVNZ declined to uphold

the complaint.

Dissatisfied with TVNZ's decision, Mr Corrin referred the complaint to the

Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

For the reasons given below, the Authority declines to determine the complaint.


Decision

The members of the Authority have viewed the item complained about and have read

the correspondence (summarised in the Appendix). On this occasion, the Authority

determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

An item on One Network News, broadcast on 26 October 1997, described the

Auckland War Memorial Museum as the "Auckland Museum" in an item about an

exhibition of the Holocaust and its victims. Mr Corrin complained formally to TVNZ

about that description of the institution. The description was factually incorrect, he

wrote. He contended that it downgraded the status of the museum as a war memorial,

and showed disrespect for the memory of the war dead "as witnessed in the Hall of

Memories". It, also, he said, showed disrespect for the institution.

TVNZ responded that the museum itself used the description "Auckland Museum" in

its entry in the Auckland Telephone Directory, and in its publicity material. It

assessed the complaint under standard G13 of the Television Code of Broadcasting

Practice, which requires broadcasters:

G13  To avoid portraying people in a way which represents as inherently

inferior, or is likely to encourage discrimination against, any section of

the community on account of sex, race, age, disability, occupational

status, sexual orientation or the holding of any religious, cultural

or political belief. This requirement is not intended to prevent the

broadcast of material which is:

i) factual, or

ii) the expression of genuinely-held opinion in a news or current affairs

programme, or

iii) in the legitimate context of a humorous, satirical or dramatic work.


TVNZ denied that the use of the abbreviated description showed any disrespect for

the war dead in the Hall of Memories and pointed out that the role of New Zealand

servicemen had no relevance to the context of the news item. It claimed that the news

report showed proper respect and conferred proper dignity upon both victims and

survivors of the Holocaust. It rejected the complaint under standard G13 and noted

that the term, "Auckland Museum", did not represent anyone as inherently inferior or

present that person in a discriminatory manner.

When Mr Corrin referred the matter to the Authority, he contended that the context

of standard G13 was too restricted and unsuitable for a "transgression of a protocol as

defined by Act of Parliament for the title of our Auckland War Memorial Museum".

He challenged the broadcaster's view that the role of New Zealand servicemen had no

relevance in the context of the news item.

The Authority appreciates Mr Corrin's view as to the significance of the Hall of

Memories and his concern for the memory of the war dead, but it considers the term

used to be a reasonable contraction of the description of the title of the museum.

Whether the full official title is used is a matter for the broadcaster to decide as a

matter of house style or editorial judgment.

In the circumstances, the Authority believes that the complaint does not raise a matter

of standards under the Television Code of Broadcasting Practice. Further, the

Authority believes that its procedures are not the means of redress for a matter such

as is raised by this complaint. Consequently, in all the circumstances, the Authority

declines to determine the complaint in accordance with s.11(b) of the Broadcasting

Act 1989.

 

For the reasons set forth above, the Authority declines to determine the

complaint.


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Sam Maling
Chairperson
12 February 1998

Appendix


Mr Corrin's Complaint to Television New Zealand Limited – 27 October 1997

H R Corrin of Whangarei complained to Television New Zealand Limited that, during

the broadcast of One National News beginning at 6.00pm on 26 October 1997, a news

item featured an exhibition dedicated to victims of the Holocaust which was being

shown at the Auckland Museum.

He pointed out that the venue was correctly described as the Auckland War Memorial

Museum. He claimed that the broadcaster's description was incorrect and downgraded

the war memorial museum to "a simple museum status". Further, he asserted, the

description used showed "disrespect to the memory of the thousands of war dead as

witnessed in the Hall of Memories". Mr Corrin also claimed that "a subject as terrible

as wartime extermination of millions of Jews and other prisoners should be treated

with respect due to the institute that will house it".

The complainant also noted that, at the 81st Dominion Council of the New Zealand

Returned Services' Association, a resolution had been carried to request the Auckland

War Memorial Museum to use its full name at all times, so that in the eyes of the

public it was seen to be a war memorial.

TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint – 10 November 1997

TVNZ assessed the complaint under standard G13 of the Television Code of

Broadcasting Practice. It noted that Mr Corrin had previously objected to the

broadcaster's description of the museum "even though that is the title the institution

itself uses in its publicity material, news releases and even in its entry in the Auckland

Telephone Directory". The broadcaster referred to BSA decision 1997-121 where a

similar reference in a news item was held not to contravene the standards.

The broadcaster advised Mr Corrin that "Auckland Museum" was a commonly-used

term to describe the institution and denied that such a use represented a breach of

programme standards.

In denying that the use of the description showed any disrespect for the war dead in

the Hall of Memories, for the role of New Zealand servicemen had no relevance to the

context of the news item, TVNZ claimed that the news report showed proper respect

and conferred proper dignity upon both victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

In rejecting the complaint under standard G13, the broadcaster noted that the

description of the exhibition site as the "Auckland Museum" did not represent anyone

as inherently inferior or present that person in a discriminatory manner.

Mr Corrin's Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 12 November
1997

Dissatisfied with TVNZ's response, Mr Corrin referred his complaint to the

Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

He wrote that the context of standard G13 of the Television Code of Broadcasting

Practice was too restricted and unsuitable for "a transgression of a protocol as defined

by Act of Parliament for the title of our Auckland War Memorial Museum".

The complainant challenged the broadcaster's view that the role of New Zealand

servicemen had no relevance in the context of the news item. He submitted that:

always the Hall of Memories is the centre of the memorial and that there

are many names etched there that made an unmatched contribution to rid

the world of the tyranny that is graphically illustrated at the Auckland War

Memorial Museum.

TVNZ's Response to the Authority – 17 November 1997

TVNZ advised that it had nothing further to add.