BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Light and TV3 Network Services Ltd - 1995-038

  • I W Gallaway (Chair)
  • L M Loates
  • W J Fraser
  • E A Light


At about 8.15pm on TV3 on Friday 10 March, within a commercial break during the

programme Star Trek, a promo was screened for the AO film, Henry and June,

scheduled to begin at 8.30pm.

Mrs Light complained to TV3 Network Services Ltd that the broadcast of the promo

showing erotic behaviour and nudity breached a number of broadcasting standards.

Explaining that although the standards accepted the broadcast of PGR rated promos

for AO films during PGR time, TV3 said that an incorrect promo was broadcast on

this occasion and it upheld the complaint. It apologised for the mistake and stated the

promotion schedulers had been asked to take extreme care in the placement of promos

for programmes with an adult theme. Dissatisfied that the standard allowed any

promos for films designed for a mature audience to be broadcast other than in AO

time, Mrs Light referred her complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under

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

For the reasons below, the Authority declined to uphold the complaint


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.

At 8.15pm, during the broadcast of Star Trek, TV3 broadcast a promo for the AO

classified film Henry and June. The film was scheduled to begin that evening at

8.30pm – at the conclusion of Star Trek.

Because the promo contained, Mrs Light said, erotic behaviour, a nude woman in a

provocative pose plus "heavy sexual lovemaking", she complained to TV3 that such

explicit scenes were broadcast in an unsuitable time slot. She stated that the broadcast

of the promo breached the standards relating to taste and the protection of children.

Furthermore, she maintained that TV3 had been irresponsible in not broadcasting a

suitable warning given the time slot at which the item had been broadcast.

Without referring to the standards under which it had been assessed, TV3 upheld the

complaint. Because of human error, it said, a 30 second promo had been screened

rather than a 15 second one classified as PGR. TV3 apologised for any distress

caused to the complainant and her family and advised her that its promotion

schedulers had been advised that "extreme care" was needed in the placement of

promos – particularly those with an adult theme.

Mr and Mrs Light referred the complaint to the Authority as, given the serious nature

of the breach, they were not satisfied with the explanation or apology. They

acknowledged that the standards (G22) accepted that PGR rated promos for AO

promos could be screened during PGR time bands. However, they believed that was

not appropriate when the promos related to an "obviously adult movie". In that case,

they argued, promos should be prohibited during PGR time bands.

Observing that monitoring children's viewing was a difficult task already and noting

that more promos for the AO classified programmes seemed to be broadcast during

family viewing hours, they wrote:

The programme promoters would no doubt argue that they can produce a PGR

promo that complies but we dispute this. We believe that this is a good example

of a movie designed for a "mature" audience that has no right to be even

presented to an immature audience let alone promoted to it.

In its report to the Authority TV3 explained that the incident occurred owing to a

transposition error where the AO classified promo (2492) was entered into the

computer instead of the PGR one (2462). TV3 also reported that it was considering

new software but in the meantime it had reviewed procedures with staff "to ensure

this type of placement error doesn't happen again".

Although the particular standards under which the complaint was upheld were not

specified by TV3, in view of the complaint the Authority decided that the broadcast

had involved a breach of standards G2 and G12 of Television Code of Broadcasting

Practice in addition to standard G22. Standards G2 and G12 require broadcasters:

G2  To take into consideration currently accepted norms of decency and taste

in language and behaviour, bearing in mind the context in which any

language or behaviour occurs.

G12 To be mindful of the effect any programme may have on children during

their normally accepted viewing times.

As the Lights noted when they referred the complaint to the Authority, broadcasters

are required to comply with standard G22 when screening promos. It reads:

G22 Promotions (promos) for AO programmes may be screened during PGR

or G time bands provided the promo is made in such a way that it can be

classified as PGR or G, as appropriate. Promotions which carry an AO

classification may only be screened within AO time bands.

While sympathising with Mr and Mrs Light and understanding their concerns, the

Authority is not convinced that standard G22 should be amended to confine promos

for AO programmes to AO time bands. Although 8.30pm is the watershed between

PGR and AO classified programmes and is the time when many younger viewers

should be required to stop watching television, there are many other viewers who

watch before 8.30pm and continue to watch after the watershed. The Authority

accepts that broadcasters should be allowed to advise such viewers of forthcoming


Nevertheless, the Authority cannot urge broadcasters too strongly of the need for the

utmost care when screening promos for AO programmes in other time bands. It is a

concern which is raised not infrequently in letters received by the Authority. The

Authority believes that it is also appropriate to refer to standard G24 to indicate its

believe that broadcasters must exercise care. It states:

G24 Broadcasters must be mindful that scenes containing incidents of violence

or other explicit material may be acceptable when seen in the total context

of a programme, but when extracted for promotion purposes such

incidents will be seen out of context and may thereby be unacceptable, not

only in terms of the codes but also for the time band during which the

trailer is placed.

TV3 upheld Mrs Light's complaint and her referral of the matter to the Authority

amounted to dissatisfaction with the standard rather than with TV3's decision or

action. The Authority is aware of the concerns expressed by Mrs Light and while it

does not believe that standard G22 should be reviewed at present, it repeats that

broadcasters must exercise the utmost care when screening promos for AO classified

programmes in other than AO time bands. Should this not occur, the Authority may

well consider that standard G22 should be reviewed along the lines suggested by the



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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Iain Gallaway
29 May 1995


E A Light's Complaint to TV3 Network Services Ltd - 12 March 1995

Mrs E A Light of Auckland complained to TV3 Network Services Ltd about a promo

for the AO film, Henry and June, broadcast at about 8.15pm on Friday 10 March.

Reporting that the family had been watching Star Trek on TV3, Mrs Light stated that

the promo for Henry and June showed:

... erotic behaviour and nudity in the form of a nude woman in provocative pose

on a bed plus heavy sexual lovemaking probably typical of a movie which the

Herald critic on Friday March 10 warned had explicit sexual content.

Pointing out that she would not allow her children to watch such a film, Mrs Light

objected to having such explicit scenes shown unexpectedly in an unsuitable time slot.

She stated that it breached the standards requiring good taste and decency and the

protection of children from inappropriate material, and that it should have been

preceded by a warning.

TV3's Response to the Formal Complaint - 16 March 1995

TV3 advised Mrs Light that, on receipt of the complaint, it had found that an

incorrect promo for Henry and June had been broadcast during Star Trek. It upheld

the complaint.

Explaining that the mistake was due to human error and apologising for any distress

caused, TV3 said that its promotion schedulers had been reminded of the extreme care

necessary in the placement of promos - especially those with an adult theme.

Mrs Light's Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 4 April 1995

In a letter signed by herself and her husband, Mrs Light said that she was dissatisfied

with the explanation and the apology and referred the complaint to the Broadcasting

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

She began:

The promotion of AO films during PGR time bands has to be a most serious

risk to young viewers and we consider this breach to be extremely serious.

While accepting that the standards allowed PGR rated promos for AO films to be

screened in PGR time, she considered that TV3 had not addressed her specific

complaint. She added:

We feel that the guidelines that allow an obviously adult movie to be promoted

to a PGR audience need to be strengthened.

It is our sincere belief that G22 should be amended to prohibit AO movies from

being promoted during PGR time bands.

Mrs Light accepted that broadcasters could produce a promo which complied with the

PGR standard but she argued that with a film designed for a mature audience, even its

promos should not be shown in other than at AO time.

Pointing out that monitoring children's viewing was a difficult task and, in addition,

viewing during commercial breaks had to be supervised, Mrs Light said that in the

current competitive environment programmers were pushing the limits. She


We believe this instance demonstrates the need for clearer guidelines and again

request your urgent review of the matter.

TV3's Response to the Authority - 10 April 1995

TV3 advised the Authority that the complaint had been upheld and that it had

reviewed its procedures to ensure that a similar mistake did not happen again.

It noted that the error had occurred on this occasion because of a transposition error

(2492 for 2462) when the computer was programmed.

Mrs Light's Final Comment

Mrs Light did not respond to the Authority's request to comment on TV3's report to

the Authority.