BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Twilight Promotions and TV3 Network Services Ltd - 1994-120

Members
  • L M Loates
  • J R Morris
  • I W Gallaway
  • W J Fraser
Dated
Complainant
  • Twilight Promotions
Number
1994-120
Programme
5.30 Live
Channel/Station
TV3


Summary

TV3's recently discontinued daily life style magazine programme 5.30 Live included a

regular review of shows. On 11 August, after the presenter and the guest had referred

to a number of shows, the presenter said of "The Great Legends of Rock" that it

sounded like a show worth missing.

A director of the company which had promoted the show throughout New Zealand,

Mr Cottle of Twilight Promotions, complained to TV3 Network Services Ltd that the

unacceptable remark breached broadcasting standards as it was based on minimal

knowledge.

Declining to uphold the complaint as the nominated standards did not apply, TV3

nevertheless maintained that the light hearted comment gave the show free publicity

and would not have been taken seriously by viewers. Dissatisfied with TV3's reply,

Mr Cottle on behalf of Twilight Promotions 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 declined 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). As is its practice, the Authority

has determined the complaint without a formal hearing.

"The Great Legends of Rock" was the final show considered by the presenter and her

guest on 5.30 Live when briefly commenting on the shows being performed

throughout the country. The guest was slightly hesitant in his comments as to the

content of the show and the presenter observed:


Sounds like one to miss.

Mr Cottle, a director of Twilight Promotions which had promoted the show,

complained to TV3 that the comment was unacceptable, was apparently based on

minimal knowledge and breached standards G14, G19 and G20 of the Television Code

of Broadcasting Practice.

Those standards read:

G14 News must be presented accurately, objectively and impartially.

G19 Care must be taken in the editing of programme material to ensure that

extracts used are a true reflection and not a distortion of the original event

or the overall views expressed.


G20 No set formula can be advanced for the allocation of time to interested

parties on controversial public issues. Broadcasters should aim to present

all significant sides in as fair a way as possible, and this can be done only

by judging every case.


The comment, he added, had had an impact on ticket sales.

Pointing out that 5.30 Live was a magazine show which dealt with a variety of

lifestyle issues, TV3 explained that none of the nominated standards applied. By way

of comment, it reported that the broadcast had given free publicity to the show and

that the light-hearted remark would not have been taken seriously by viewers who had

made up their minds whether or not to see it.

In view of TV3's response, Mr Cottle did not refer the standard G19 aspect of the

complaint to the Authority. He disputed TV3's "free publicity" observation, noting

that it was the type of publicity which the show did not need. He also produced

evidence reporting the show's excellent reception in 11 cities.

In assessing the complaint, the Authority considered first whether the nominated

standards were applicable. As standard G14 is concerned with news and as standard

G20 deals with controversial public issues, the Authority agreed with TV3 that

neither standard was relevant to a comment made on a magazine style programme

which dealt with lifestyle issues. Accordingly, the Authority decided not to determine

the complaint.

The Authority nevertheless considered that the presenter should not have commented

as she did. While it is impossible to assess whether this particular remark had a

positive or negative impact on ticket sales, in the Authority's opinion such

throwaway lines, even if intended to be light-hearted, should not be broadcast if there

is any chance that they could interpreted adversely.

 

For the above reasons, the Authority declines to determine the complaint.


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Iain Gallaway
Chairperson
1 December 1994


Appendix

Twilight Promotions' Complaint to TV3 Network Services Limited - 6

September 1994

A director of Twilight Promotions (Mr William Cottle) complained to TV3 Network

Services Ltd about a comment made by the presenter (Ms Louise Wallace) in a

discussion with a guest about the shows which were on during the 5.30 Live

programme broadcast on 11 August 1994.

Noting that he was the promoter of the recently completed "Great Legends of Rock"

tour throughout New Zealand, he said that the presenter had said.

It sounds to me like a show worth missing.

Describing the comment as unacceptable and apparently based on minimal knowledge,

Mr Cottle alleged that it breached standards G14, G19 and G20 of the Television

Code of Broadcasting Practice. He added that the cast and advertisers expressed

disbelief at the remark but that it had had an impact on ticket sales.

TV3's Response to the Formal Complaint - 26 September 1994

When advising the complainant of its Complaints Committee's decision, TV3 assessed

the complaint under each of the nominated standards.

As standard G14 refers to news, TV3 said that it was inapplicable. TV3 explained

that 5.30 Live was a magazine programme which dealt with a wide variety of life style

issues such as entertainment, fashion and food.

TV3 added that standard G19 was also inapplicable as editing had not been involved.

Similarly, standard G20 did not apply as the matter discussed was not a controversial

issue.

Declining to uphold the complaint under the nominated standards, TV3 concluded:

The Committee would add a footnote to its decision. It considered that the

remark complained of was delivered in a light hearted tone and would not have

been taken seriously by viewers who, for the most part, would have made up

their own minds as to whether they wanted to see "Great Legends of Rock". Its

mention on 5.30 Live provided the show with free publicity to about 70,000

people who otherwise might not have been aware of it.

Twilight Promotions' Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 20

October 1994

Dissatisfied with TV3's decision, on Twilight Promotions' behalf Mr Cottle referred

the complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the

Broadcasting Act 1989.

Referring to two of the three standards nominated, Mr Cottle said that, under standard

G14, the presenter expressed an opinion about a show which she had not seen. It

was, under standard G20, unjustified opinion and Mr Cottle enclosed some

complimentary reviews of the show.

With regard to TV3's footnote, Mr Cottle wrote:

It angers me for TV3 to state this comment was made in a light hearted tone and

wouldn't have been taken seriously by viewers. The type of publicity that TV3

are saying we received for the show to 70,000 viewers was publicity we

certainly didn't want, and it is my feeling that it should not have been broadcast.

Furthermore, it is my feeling that the comment did our show considerable

damage. I do not believe that nobody was put off the show by hearing a

respected presenter stating: "Sounds like one to miss". Your attention to this

matter will be much appreciated.

Attached to the referral was a letter signed by Guy Cater, President of the Variety

Artists Club who had been the compere for the "Great Legends of Rock" show.

Referring to the show's excellent reception in 11 cities, he described the presenter's

comment on 5.30 Live as "a nasty and uneducated, stupid piece of journalism".

TV3's Response to the Authority - 6 October 1994

TV3 advised that it did not wish to comment further. When notified of TV3's

decision, Mr Cottle by telephone on 11 October also said that he did not wish to add

anything.