P and TV3 Network Services Ltd - 1994-021
- I W Gallaway (Chair)
- R A Barraclough
- L M Dawson
- J R Morris
Programme20/20: "Hear No Evil – Speak No Evil"
BroadcasterTV3 Network Services Ltd
"Hear No Evil – Speak No Evil" was the title of an item on incest broadcast by TV3's 20/20
programme between 7.30–8.30pm on Sunday 11 July 1993. The programme
interviewed three daughters (whose identity was disguised) of a man recently sentenced to
prison for incest with his five daughters. The item also included interviews with the
offender's partly-hidden former wife, the mother of the victims, and with police officers.
Ms C and Ms P, the two daughters not interviewed, complained to TV3 Network Services
Ltd that parts of the item were inaccurate, that it had not referred to them fairly and had
breached their privacy. Furthermore, by relying on the eldest sister's account of events, it
had used an unreliable source and had been unbalanced.
Arguing that the item made sensitive use of the material provided by the three sisters who
participated on the programme in order to draw attention to the need for official agencies
to respond adequately should a similar situation again be disclosed, TV3 declined to uphold
the complaint. Dissatisfied with TV3's response, Ms C and Ms P referred their complaints
to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. As
Ms C's referral was outside the statutory time during which referrals must be made, the
Authority declined to accept it. It has proceeded to determine Ms P's referral only.
For the reasons given below, the Authority upheld the aspects of Ms P's complaint which
alleged a breach of s.4(1)(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 and standard G6 of the
Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.
The members of the Authority have viewed the item complained about and have read the
correspondence (summarised in the Appendix). Ms P requested a formal hearing,
explaining that she found it much easier to express herself verbally rather than on paper.
However, she has expressed her concerns comprehensively and competently on paper and,
consequently, the Authority decided to follow its usual practice and determine the
complaint without a formal hearing.
An item about incest on 20/20 on 11 July 1993 contained interviews with three of the
five daughters who had been victims of their father who had recently been sentenced to
12 years imprisonment. Before the broadcast, TV3 had sought to have the suppression
order removed which prevented the broadcast of the daughters' names or identifying
particulars. The application was unsuccessful. The 20/20 item began by recounting that
fact. It continued by explaining that, because of its importance, it intended to broadcast
the item although names had been changed, identities hidden and voices altered. The item
reported in some detail that despite the complaints from one or more of the daughters, the
Police and Social Welfare Department declined to take action against the father during the
late 1960s and 1970s.
The three daughters who participated in the item spoke about the sexual, physical and
emotional abuse to which they had been subjected as children. Although the item's
introduction stated that "some" of the sisters had participated in the item, both the
reporter and the sisters interviewed made it clear that all five sisters had been raped and
abused by their father. For example, the reporter referred to the "five concubines" who
served their father and one sister recalled that after she had left the family, those still
living at home were being abused in various ways. The item also reported that all the five
daughters had given evidence against their father at his recent trial.
In her complaint, Ms P nominated the standards she alleged had been breached by various
aspects of the item. She listed standards G1, G3, G4, G5, G6, G14, G15, G16, G17 and
G21 of the Television Code of Broadcasting Practice. TV3 assessed the complaint against
these standards and, in addition, s.4(1)(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 (which refers to
A number of the standards overlap – for example accuracy and fairness are mentioned on
more than one occasion. Furthermore, as the item was a current affairs one, it is
questionable whether standards G14, G15 and G16 apply as they refer only to "news".
Taking into account the issues raised in Ms P's complaint, the Authority decided that all the
concerns were included under standards G1, G4, G5 and G6 of the Code and s.4(1)(c) of
the Act. Those standards require broadcasters:
G1 To be truthful and accurate on points of fact.
G4 To deal justly and fairly with any person taking part or referred to in any
G5 To respect the principles of law which sustain our society.
G6 To show balance, impartiality and fairness in dealing with political matters,
current affairs and all questions of a controversial nature.
Section 4(1)(c) provides:
(1) Every broadcaster is responsible for maintaining in its programmes and
their presentation, standards which are consistent with –
(c) The privacy of the individual.
Standard G1 – Factual Inaccuracies
Ms P claimed the item was factually incorrect when it said that she was bitter, that she
was a sex-machine who was repeatedly raped and that one of her sisters, who appeared on
the item, had been raped and had been sexually abused in the local tip. Moreover, despite
her eldest sister's reported comment, Ms P added that she had had no contact with her
after that sister had left home. She stated, in addition, that she had not "spiked" her
father's food as the broadcast alleged and she objected that the item had re-written her
past without her consent. Moreover, it was inaccurate to describe the time lapse between
the father's first offences and his imprisonment as 30 years.
The Authority can determine a number of the straight-forward specific aspects of the
complaint under standard G1 (truth and accuracy) in that the item did not report some of
the matters which Ms P claimed were contraventions. For example, "Sharon", not Ms P,
was reported as stating that she had "spiked" her father's food and "Angela" said she had
helped. Furthermore, "Sharon's" statement that she had been abused in the local landfill
was her own words. The Authority has no grounds for doubting the accuracy of her
recollections. The reference to the time lapse of 30 years, while involving some
exaggeration, could be seen as "rounding up" the length of time rather than as a breach of
the accuracy requirement.
The Authority's lack of knowledge about the other specific matters referred to precluded its
determination of them under standard G1. Moreover, in disputing the allegation that she
had been a repeatedly raped sex-machine, Ms P seemed to be objecting primarily on the
grounds that her history was being rewritten by the item. Because of its lack of knowledge
of the specific details about the complainant's past, the Authority decided that it could not
determine the complaint under standard G1. Nevertheless, it has taken the thrust of Ms
P's concerns into account when considering the complaint under the following standards.
Standard G4 – Dealing with People Referred to Justly and Fairly
The complaint that she was not dealt with justly and fairly was the issue raised by Ms P
under standard G4. Initially, the Authority thought two matters were of particular
importance in resolving this aspect of the complaint. First, it noted that the item's
introduction assumed that the circumstances relating to each of the five sisters were
similar. Secondly, two of the sisters, Ms C and Ms P, did not participate in the item. Ms P
explained that she had withdrawn from participation in the preparation of the
programme because of the reporter's "lack of compassion" and respect for her privacy. Her
views of the facts, she continued, were ignored by TV3.
In response, TV3 pointed to the corroborative information that the complainant had
supplied but added that her specific views on some issues were not presented in the item as
they focussed on her relationship with her eldest sister. That matter, TV3 explained, was
not the item's theme.
After examining the complaint, the Authority was of the view that the fairness matters
which the complainant raised as standard G4 issues were best addressed as either privacy
or balance matters. This approach took into account the possibility that standard G4
might not be applicable because Ms P chose not to participate in the programme.
Standard G5 – Respect for the Principles of Law
Under standard G5, Ms P complained that the item, by breaching the suppression order,
did not show respect for the principles of law. TV3 argued that it had been careful to
comply with the order.
The Authority decided that the specific issue raised, compliance with a legislatively imposed
suppression order, was a matter for the Solicitor General. Accordingly, it declined to
determine this specific aspect of the complaint.
Standard G6 – Balance, Impartiality and Fairness
Standard G6 requires broadcasters to show balance, fairness and impartiality and the
Authority was required to decide whether the item was unfair in assuming that the
experiences of Ms P, who was not interviewed on-camera, were similar to the three who
participated. In recounting "Angela's" fight for justice, TV3 did not distinguish between the
five sisters' experiences and the item assumed that they were similar.
Furthermore, the complainant denied some of the comments made by her sisters who
appeared and the problem for the Authority, as noted above, was that it was not aware
of what each of the sisters' experiences were. Ms P again referred to her past being
rewritten and TV3 replied that it used the best sources of information available. In its
letter in response to Ms P's complaint, TV3 wrote:
You chose not to appear and TV3 respects that choice but you were consulted. It
was clear during that consultation that the views you wished to express, had you
appeared, would have been to settle a difference of opinion within the family. It
appeared that your aim was contrary to the aim of 20/20.
However, despite not being aware of the different factual situations which applied to each
complainant, the Authority was aware that TV3 knew that some of the sisters had reacted
differently. Consequently, the Authority decided that the item was unfair to Ms P in
suggesting that the sisters' experiences were similar. In addition, the Authority concluded
that the item was unbalanced in not acknowledging the different perspectives and
recollections of the sisters. To Ms P, the differences were major and the Authority was
sympathetic to her objection that TV3 did not acknowledge that the sisters were not united
and that two of them did not want the programme made. By recounting the experiences
of some of the daughters, TV3 suggested not only that the experiences were similar but
also that the current attitudes of all the daughters were identical.
After examining the comprehensive complaint, the Authority decided that privacy was the
The Authority would note that although privacy has been the major concern in only 3%
of its decisions, it has been necessary for it to develop a number of principles to apply when
a complaint is made that a broadcast has invaded an individual's privacy. It issued an
Advisory Opinion in June 1992 to all broadcasters outlining five relevant privacy
principles it intended to apply. The Authority would add that these principles have been
sufficient to deal with all complaints alleging a breach of privacy received since then. The
Advisory Opinion provides:
By way of introduction to the Advisory Opinion, the Authority wants to stress that,
although it records five relevant privacy principles:
- These principles are not necessarily the only privacy principles that
the Authority will apply;
- The principles may well require elaboration and refinement when
applied to a complaint;
- The specific facts of each complaint are especially important when
privacy is an issue.
The Opinion continued:
Although the right to be left alone is a common sense definition of privacy, as its
decisions may be appealed to the High Court it is necessary for the Authority to
follow what it considers to be appropriate legal precedents. Because of the paucity
of reported cases and the lack of a clear definition of privacy in New Zealand, the
Authority has relied upon precedents from the United States in developing the
following five principles which have been applied to privacy complaints so far by
the Authority when determining them under the Broadcasting Act 1989.
The following two privacy principles enunciated in the Advisory Opinion are applicable in
i) The protection of privacy includes legal protection against the public
disclosure of private facts where the facts disclosed are highly
offensive and objectionable to a reasonable person of ordinary
ii) The protection of privacy also protects against the public disclosure
of some kinds of public facts. The "public" facts contemplated
concern events (such as criminal behaviour) which have, in effect,
become private again, for example through the passage of time.
Nevertheless, the public disclosure of public facts will have to be
highly offensive to the reasonable person.
Principles Applied to this Decision
A critical matter in deciding whether privacy has been breached is the reference in privacy
principles (i) and (ii) to the disclosure of "highly offensive" facts. The Authority decided
that Ms P's experiences as an incest victim fell under this heading.
Ms P did not appear on the item. The central question, the Authority believed, was
whether sufficient information had been revealed for a person who knew her or the
family's circumstances – but not necessarily the intimate matters disclosed in the item – to
identify the family and, specifically, Ms P. Amongst the matters disclosed were three
undisguised photographs of Ms P and her brothers and sisters as children, a house in
which the family lived some years ago, two different neighbours from the family's past,
the mother's present backyard and garden, the official buildings in the town in which the
family lived for some years and the voice and deportment of three of the daughters and
Before determining whether or not Ms P would be identified by the broadcast, the
Authority believed there was one other factual matter which was relevant to its decision
on this specific complaint. That matter was the newspaper coverage of the father's trial in
February last year, the item on a TVNZ news and current affairs programme about that
time reporting the father's sentence, and an interview with the eldest daughter carried in a
New Zealand weekly magazine last April. Those items gave the father's correct name when
reporting that he had been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for offences first reported
to the police by the eldest daughter in 1969. The magazine article gave the eldest
daughter's married name and recorded the first names of some of her sisters. It included
an undated photograph of the daughters' parents. The 20/20 item covered much of the
same ground that the magazine had already traversed.
With regard to that prior material, the Authority noted that three daughters were
interviewed (including Ms P) for the TVNZ item but their appearances and voices were
extensively disguised. Further, although the print material might have revealed the
complainant's identity to her friends and acquaintances, the facts put into the public
domain should have remained private because of the suppression order.
On the issue of the effect of the previous publicity on the present complaint, a majority of
the Authority emphasised the highly personal nature of the material revealed by the item.
Although noting that the complainant, because of the disclosures in the media referred to
above, could well have been identified by acquaintances and friends who had not
previously known of her past, in view of the suppression order referred to in the item's
introduction, the prior disclosure in the print media was irrelevant.
In the view of the majority, the fact that the suppression order remained in force at the
time of the broadcast, despite an application to have it lifted, meant that the information it
protected was "private" within the terms of privacy principle (i). Alternatively, the
majority accepted that if the print media's prior disclosure had made any of that
information "public", then continuation of the suppression order caused it to become
private again, within the terms of privacy principle (ii).
The minority disagreed for the reason that the information had been previously disclosed
in a mass-circulation magazine. Noting that Ms P's identity had not been revealed to the
public at large by the broadcast but only to a limited number of people who would have
had reasonably extensive knowledge about her childhood, the minority decided that the
disclosure by 20/20 did not breach principles (i) and (ii).
As a majority had decided that the previous disclosure was inapplicable in deciding this
complaint, the Authority was then faced with the issue – was Ms P's identity in fact
revealed by the broadcast?
In dealing with the question, a majority of the Authority was of the opinion, first, that
disclosure of the private facts to one person would be sufficient to contravene the privacy
principles. It then concluded that although Ms P was not seen on the item except, possibly,
in a photograph as a child, sufficient background information about the family had been
revealed to enable a person who had known Ms P as a child to realise who was being
In addition, the majority considered that a person who knew Ms P as an adult and who
was aware of some details of her family background – but not the fact that she was a
victim of incest – could, from the information presented in the item, identify Ms P as one
of the five sisters referred to.
The minority was of the view that Ms P had been revealed by the magazine article referred
to above or, with regard to television viewers, by her participation on the TVNZ item.
Although it was very unlikely that her appearance on that item, in itself, would have
revealed her identity in view of the techniques of disguise which were used, the minority
considered that the appearance combined with such details as her father's full name, and
her appearance in a t-shirt which she had worn while canvassing for support for a
petition dealing with sexual offenders, would have disclosed her identity to at least as wide
a circle of friends and acquaintances as would have recognised her from the 20/20 item
complained about. Furthermore, the minority noted that a breach of privacy could not be
claimed by someone who consented to it. Appearing on television voluntarily, although
disguised, the minority maintained, risked the possibility that one could well be identified
by friends and possibly by acquaintances.
For the reasons set forth above, the Authority upholds the complaint that
the broadcast by TV3 Network Services Ltd of an item on 20/20 on 11 July
1993 breached standard G6 of the Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.
A majority of the Authority upholds the complaint that the broadcast
breached s.4(1)(c) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
The Authority declines to uphold any other aspect of the complaint.
Having upheld a complaint, the Authority may make an order under s.13(1)(d) of the
Broadcasting Act 1989. It records that it has earlier upheld a complaint from Mrs S, Ms
P's mother, that the 20/20 item "Hear No Evil – Speak No Evil" disclosed Mrs S's identity
and contravened s.4(1)(c) of the Act. In that Decision, the Authority ordered the
broadcaster to pay compensation of $750 to Mrs S. (Decision No: 1/94)
The Authority believes that it is important to distinguish Ms P's complaint from that of her
mother's. The mother, Mrs S, was filmed surreptitiously for her unexpected appearance in
the item. The surreptitious nature of the filming was the major aspect for which the
Authority considered that s.4(1)(c) had been breached and for which Mrs S should be
compensated. In this instance, as noted above, Ms P was not filmed surreptitiously and did
not appear live in the item.
Nevertheless, a majority of the Authority upheld Ms P's privacy complaint on the basis
that, because of the identifying details disclosed about the family, she would have been
identified, if only by a small number of people who had known her as a child or were close
In the circumstances, which includes the majority basis of the decision, the small number
of people who would have identified Ms P and the absence of the use of surreptitious
filming techniques, the Authority concluded that an order for compensation was neither
appropriate nor necessary. Furthermore, it decided that the broadcast of a correction
might result in further publicity which might identify Ms P.
The Authority was concerned when Ms P stated in the Complaint Referral Form that the
item's promo disclosed aspects of her past to her two sons – potentially a matter of great
importance. However, as it was not a matter raised in the original complaint, the
Authority was unable to determine the issue.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
28 April 1994
Ms P's Complaint to TV3 Network Services Limited
In a letter posted in early August 1993, Ms P complained to TV3 Network Services Ltd
about an item broadcast on 20/20 between 7.30– 8.30pm on Sunday 11 July. The item
entitled "Hear No Evil – Speak No Evil" interviewed three daughters of a man who had
recently been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for incest with his five daughters.
Explaining that she was one of the daughters who did not appear during the item, Ms P
said the item had caused her and other family members a great deal of pain. She listed the
broadcasting standards which she considered were breached by the broadcast and gave her
reasons for the breach in each instance.
Standard G1 requiring truth and accuracy had been breached, she said, when all the
daughters had been described as bitter to which she replied: "I am not". Moreover, the
voices of the programme's participants were not changed. She also contested the statement
that one of her sisters had been raped regularly in the local rubbish tip, adding that the
point was not given in evidence at her father's trial. Further, she disputed the eldest sister's
statement that she had cared for Ms P when she left home. She had had no contact, she
said, with her eldest sister after she had left home.
Standard G3 requires that individuals be given the right to express their own opinions.
Noting that TV3's reporter did not contact her until asked to do so by another daughter,
Ms P said she was offended by the reporter's approach. She continued:
[TV3's reporter] informed me my views did not fit into her story line, or what had
then already been filmed. My views did not count.
This caused a great deal of distress, we all have different views and this fact they
chose to ignore. Five members of our family were not approached for their
The obligation in standard G4 is to deal justly and fairly with any person referred to. This
standard had been breached, Ms P stated, as contrary to the comments which had been
broadcast, she was not bitter and not a sex machine but her past had been rewritten
without her consent.
Respect for the principles of law is the standard G5 requirement and, Ms P said, although
TV3 had been required by the High Court not to identify the family, the item included
photographs of the family and their homes and had shown former neighbours talking
about the family.
Broadcasters are required to show balance, fairness and impartiality under standard G6
which, Ms P complained, was breached because, as a result, her past was rewritten.
The remaining standards identified as breached are included in the section headed "News,
Current Affairs and Documentaries". Standard G14 requires that news be presented
accurately, objectively and impartially and Ms P said it was contravened as the 20/20
item implied that the five sisters held the same views.
Standard G16 requires broadcasters to review constantly the integrity and reliability of
news sources. Ms P said that because some family property had been stolen, it was a
"question for concern" that TV3 had used the eldest sister as its main source.
Presenting news in a way which causes unnecessary distress is to be avoided pursuant to
standard G16. However, Ms P wrote, the broadcast (and its promos) had made the recent
weeks "a hell" for her and her family.
Associated with that requirement is standard G17 which prohibits the unnecessary
intrusion into family grief. Describing the media harassment since the beginning of the
trial as unbearable, Ms P said that the broadcast had added to her pain.
Ms P pointed out that standard G21, which requires that significant errors of facts must
be corrected at the earliest opportunity was important. She added that the programme
was in error to group the five daughters as sharing a common experience. She wrote:
I am not a sex machine
I was not repeatedly raped
I was not a support factor for that programme
I am educated and until this harassment had put my past in my pocket and was
trying very hard to get on with my life
I was not a bitter woman.
She also stated that the case was not thirty years old, as the item said, and that was
apparent when the dates were worked out.
She repeated her concern about TV3's reporter's attitude describing her lack of compassion
and respect for the family's privacy as offensive. She referred to the Court order which,
despite the wish of one or more of the daughters, stated that the family was not to be
identified. Despite this order, Ms P concluded, four separate family photographs were
shown, five family homes were depicted, there were four references to the "five daughters
– sisters – concubines" and, in addition, a reference to the charges and the sentence.
TV3's Response to the Formal Complaint
TV3 advised Ms P of its Complaints Committee's decision in a letter dated 8 October 1993
when it reported that the complaint had been assessed under the nominated standards
and, in addition, the requirement to respect an individual's privacy in s.4(1)(c) of the
Broadcasting Act 1989.
TV3 began by stating that it had not used the Court evidence of Ms P or the other sister
who did not participate in the programme. It continued:
The documentary is a personal tragedy and the revelations from your sisters were
treated sensitively, poignantly and without any sensationalism. Your sisters took
part in the documentary (to varying degrees as requested by them) of their own
volition – they were willing participants and they wanted their story told.
The item's emphasis, TV3 added, was the public concern that the police and social welfare
might continue not to act on such matters as had occurred with the events explored on
the programme. The item, while presenting the family history had deliberately avoided
disclosing "gruesome details".
TV3 also questioned Ms P's differing attitude to different parts of the media, noting that
Ms P had been interviewed on the Holmes programme and, with some of her sisters, had
lobbied publicly in support of a petition about sexual offending. As a consequence of these
activities, TV3 observed, it was probable that her identity as a complainant in her father's
trial was known before the broadcast of the 20/20 item.
TV3 then dealt with the complaints made under the nominated standards.
Beginning with the truth and accuracy requirement in standard G1, TV3 explained that
its reporter had discussed the programme and the approach adopted with Ms P who had
then talked about the offenses. The conversation had moved on to a discussion about the
eldest sister (Ms H) and her alleged bad side. As the item was not about Ms H or about the
relationship with the sisters, TV3 noted that Ms P had declined to take part in the
programme. It added:
It was 20/20 who wished to be impartial and certainly accurate.
TV3 also said that the voices were altered by modulation. The sister who described the trips
to the tip was the best source of evidence, it continued, but the prosecution, for evidential
reasons, had not included it in the case brought to court.
As for the standard G3 requirement to allow individuals to express their opinion, TV3
maintained that Ms P had been consulted but because of the relationship with her eldest
sister, had declined to take part in the programme.
The item had not dealt with Ms P unfairly in breach of standard G4 and had complied
with legal principles as required by standard G5. Indeed, TV3 added, care had been taken
to comply with Justice Neazor's ruling and there had been no criticism from the Solicitor
The standard G6 requirement for balance was achieved as the material presented had been
corroborated by official records and family members. TV3 added:
You chose not to appear and TV3 respects that choice but you were consulted. It
was clear during that consultation that the views you wished to express, had you
appeared, would have been to settle a difference of opinion within the family. It
appeared that your aim was contrary to the aim of 20/20.
When dealing with the complaint under standards G14 and G15, TV3 referred back to his
response to the standard G1, observing:
This documentary would probably be the most scrutinised of any produced within
TV3. The sources used and the information presented were the most accurate
possible. 20/20 did not take sides nor display any impartiality – the best possible
It was not aware, it continued, of the allegation about stolen family material which,
nevertheless, was a family matter.
Regarding the duty in standard G16 to use reliable news sources, TV3 repeated that the
item, about the inaction of official agencies at the time, was a "compelling account of
sexual violation". It hoped that the programme would encourage other victims to come
forward and seek assistance. The three sisters who appeared, TV3 said, had recounted not
only their sexual violation but also their physical and emotional abuse and that it was not
the victims' fault. In fact, "they are blameless for their predicament".
TV3 denied harassing Ms P in contravention of standard G17, adding that it was not
responsible for the actions of other journalists. It also pointed out that the family
members had approached TV3, not the reverse. It also denied that the programme
contained incorrect facts which required correction under standard G21.
Dealing with the aspect of the complaint which alleged an invasion of Ms P's privacy, TV3
said that despite the request from some of the sisters that they be identified, the Court of
Appeal had confirmed Justice Neazor's reasoning that name suppression was mandatory
when a trial decided that incest had occurred. That ruling was complied with by TV3.
For the above reasons, TV3 declined to uphold any aspects of the complaint.
Ms P's Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority
Dissatisfied with TV3's decision in a letter dated 25 October 1993 Ms P referred her
complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting
In the Complaint Referral Form completed at the Authority's request, Ms P said that the
programme had been inaccurate in relying on three members of a ten member family.
She denied that TV3's reporter had been sensitive when telephoning and asking for details
of a sexual nature. She had not declined to take part because of a dislike for her eldest
sister (Ms H), as TV3 claimed, but because of her objection to the item's message "of
negative reinforcement for victims".
Because the item had showed official buildings in the town where the family had lived, she
had been recognised as part of the family referred to. She was concerned about, she added:
The way in which a TV company has lied both to me and others at the cost of a
story but more importantly the lack of compassion for us. I would never have
thought people would be so eager to put the boot in when we were already down.
We had no time to regain our strength after the case when the creeps told us how
our lives were even after knowing our feelings on the matter.
TV3, she added, had declined a later request not to broadcast the item on the basis that it
spent too much money. That attitude, as she had told TV3 at the time, had made her a
victim again. She also objected that TV3 had treated her as a liar and, furthermore, had
disclosed to her two boys (the younger being 7 years old) that she had been raped. She
I wonder if they are happy for my children also to be part of this sick story.
It seems to me the fact that I was raped is bad enough. Was it really important for
them to know Dad was doing this at the dump? Who does this help other than
Expressing her concern that the three sisters who had appeared on the programme, and
who had not been totally truthful, had disclosed to her friends (who had previously not
known) that she had been raped, she said the questions asked had upset her and had
caused her and her family a great deal of pain.
Noting that she found writing a difficult activity, she asked for the opportunity to present
her case orally in order to explain the pain inflicted upon her and her two sons.
TV3's Response to the Authority
As is its practice, the Authority sought the broadcaster's response to the complaint. Its
letter is dated 8 November 1993 and TV3, in its reply dated 17 November, stated that it
did not wish to comment further.
In view of the allegation in Ms P's Complaint Referral Form that her two sons had learnt
of her history at her father's hands from the promo for the item, in a letter to TV3 dated
20 December 1993 the Authority sought, if possible, a copy of the promo. Further, as TV3
had referred to Ms P's appearance on TVNZ's Holmes show in which she had been
canvassing in support for a petition in connection with sexual offending, the Authority
also asked TV3 for a copy of the relevant tape.
TV3's solicitors replied in a letter dated 14 February 1994 and advised that it was
obtaining the relevant tape from Ms P's oldest sister as she had lent the material to TV3
when it was attempting to have the name suppression removed.
The tape was enclosed with a letter dated 2 March 1994. It comprised a field tape and a
tape of the item broadcast on TVNZ's Holmes programme. That broadcast item gave the
sentence of the complainant's father, reported his name and showed two sisters (with
identities hidden) leaving the court. It also included comments from an interview with
three of the sisters which, TV3 advised, was filmed during the trial. The voices and
identities of these sisters were heavily disguised but each was wearing a distinctive t-shirt
carrying the statement "I'm against sex offenders". TV3's solicitor's letter contained such a
t-shirt for the Authority to examine.