BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Group Against Liquor Advertising and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1995-159

Members
  • J M Potter (Chair)
  • R McLeod
  • L M Loates
Dated
Complainant
  • Group against Liquor Advertising (GALA)
Number
1995-159
Channel/Station
TV One


Summary

The anti-nuclear testing attitude of a number of the All Blacks in France was dealt

with in an item on Dunlop Tyres Sportsnight broadcast at about 10.00pm on TV One

on 31 October 1995. Some of the shots showed Josh Kronfeld wearing his headgear

with an anti-nuclear testing sign during a Waikato and Otago rugby match.

On behalf of the Group Against Liquor Advertising (GALA), Mr Turner complained

to Television New Zealand Ltd that as some of the visuals from the game showed

prominent liquor advertising signs around the ground, the item had not ensured that

the incidental promotion of liquor was minimised.

Arguing that viewers would have been looking for the headgear during the brief extract

from the game, TVNZ declined to uphold the complaint. Dissatisfied with TVNZ's

response, Mr Turner on GALA's behalf referred the complaint to the Authority under

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

For the reasons below, the Authority declined to uphold 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.

TV One's Dunlop Tyres Sportsnight on 31 October dealt with some issues relating to

the All Blacks who were then touring France. As well as showing the All Blacks

training and reporting the team for the next game, the item referred to the ways some

of the All Blacks had expressed their opposition to the testing by France of nuclear

weapons in the South Pacific. That had involved letters to a newspaper in France and

the item recalled the anti-nuclear symbol carried by Josh Kronfeld on his headgear

when playing in New Zealand. The item included comments from Mr Kronfeld and

shots from the Otago and Waikato game when the marked headgear had been worn.

On behalf of the Group Against Liquor Advertising (GALA), Cliff Turner complained

to TVNZ that because liquor signage was prominent in the extract from the game, the

incidental promotion of liquor had not been minimised.

TVNZ assessed the complaint against standard A3 of the Programme Standards for

the Promotion of Liquor. It reads:

A3 Broadcasters will ensure that the incidental promotion of liquor is

minimised.


During the brief extract from the game, TVNZ wrote, viewers would be looking for the

headgear bearing the anti-nuclear message and would have been unlikely to notice the

signage. TVNZ also referred to guideline 8 of the standards which, in addition to

requiring the minimisation of the incidental promotion of liquor by broadcasters in

situations where they have minimal control, provides:

... standard A3 is not intended to require the total exclusion of all incidental

promotions when they are a normal feature of the situation being televised.

When referring GALA's complaint to the Authority, Mr Turner argued that the liquor

advertising was very prominent during the extract from the game and, he wrote:

To minimise means to reduce to zero where possible. I believe that the liquor

promotion could have been totally eliminated without adverse effect on the

programme.


The Concise Oxford Dictionary (8th edn) defines the verb "to minimise" as to reduce

to the smallest possible amount. It does not equate with "to eliminate". Standard A3,

in effect, imposes on the broadcaster the responsibility to reduce the exposure of

incidental liquor promotion. Guideline 8 also acknowledges that the standard must

take into account the reality of the scene being filmed. It does not accept the blatant

intrusion of liquor promotion especially at news conferences, but it acknowledges that

incidental promotions may well be a normal feature of a situation being televised.

On that basis, the Authority determined GALA's complaint about the item of sports

news broadcast on 31 October. While discussing the anti-nuclear attitudes of the All

Blacks, there was a reference back to the minor furore when Josh Kronfeld's headgear

was adorned with an anti-nuclear message during the Otago and Waikato game. A brief

extract from the game was shown to give viewers some idea of the impact (if any) of

the headgear.

On GALA's behalf, Mr Turner objected to the display of the signage around the

ground carrying liquor promotion which was contained in the brief extract from the

game which was screened. Indeed, he saw and objected to the slogan "The strong taste

of real beer".

In view of Mr Turner's lengthy campaign against liquor advertising both on behalf of

GOAL and GALA, it is understandable that he sees and focuses on incidental liquor

promotion – especially on sporting occasions. Because of their experience in the area,

the members of the Authority are probably more conscious of such signage than the

average viewer. However, despite this background, members of the Authority were

aware of the liquor signage on this occasion only because of their need to concentrate

on it. Moreover, that concentration was at the expense of spotting Josh Kronfeld's

headgear.

On the basis that, for the viewer, the incidental liquor promotion in the background of

the shots from the Otago and Waikato rugby game, when one player wore headgear

emblazoned with the CND symbol, was far from intrusive, the Authority decided that

the broadcast had not breached standard A3.

 

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


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Judith M Potter
Chairperson
19 December 1995


Appendix

GALA's Complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd - 1 November 1995

On behalf of the Group Against Liquor Advertising (GALA), Cliff Turner complained

to Television New Zealand Ltd about an item on Dunlop Tyres Sportsnight broadcast

on TV One on 31 October 1995.

An item about the All Blacks in France had referred to player Josh Kronfeld and had

shown extracts from the Otago and Waikato rugby match played on 9 September.

During the extracts, Mr Turner wrote, advertising material for Waikato Draught Beer

was seen and the slogan "The strong taste of real beer" was prominent.

Arguing that there was no compelling reason to show an extract from the game and

even if so, shots could have been selected without beer advertising, Mr Turner

maintained that incidental promotion of liquor had not been minimised.

TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint - 13 November 1995

Assessing the complaint under standard A3 of the Programme Standards for the

Promotion of Liquor, TVNZ said the item dealt in part with the New Zealand Rugby

Football Union management decision that it was unacceptable for Josh Kronfeld to

wear headgear bearing an anti-nuclear message. TVNZ wrote:

In studying your complaint, we noted in particular your suggestion that there

was no compelling reason to use the shot which included brewery signage. That

is an assessment with which we totally disagree.

Television is a medium which supplies information in both verbal and visual

form and the shot on this occasion was not, as you seem to imagine, simply

being used as visual "wallpaper".

It was important to the provision of the visual information to include a shot

which clearly showed the type of anti-nuclear message Josh Kronfeld had been

carrying on his headgear. Scrutiny of the material available showed that the close

up shot of the headgear used in this item was the best illustration available from

our tape library.

The shot was intended, TVNZ added, to show the extent that the symbol on the

headgear stood out during a game. Indeed, viewers would have been searching for the

headgear rather than seeing the signage. Further, the shot was brief and, TVNZ

maintained, the viewer would have had to freeze-frame the picture to see the

information detected by Mr Turner. In declining to uphold the complaint, TVNZ

concluded:

We respect the strong views that GALA holds on this matter but, in choosing

the most editorially appropriate material available, we believe the editor acted

correctly and did not infringe the requirement in A3.

GALA's Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 14 November

1995

Dissatisfied with TVNZ's response, Mr Turner on GALA's behalf referred the

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

Act 1989.

Mr Turner agreed that it was important to include a shot which clearly showed the

anti-nuclear message on Josh Kronfeld's headgear. However, as only a sharp-eyed

viewer would have been able to distinguish Kronfeld from the other players, Mr

Turner argued that the brief shot from the game added nothing to the story. As the

shot included a high degree of exposure of liquor advertising material in contrast to the

barely visible picture of the head gear, Mr Turner maintained that that liquor

advertising had not been minimised. He concluded:

To minimise means to reduce to zero where possible. I believe that the liquor

promotion could have been totally eliminated without adverse effect on the

programme.

TVNZ's Response to the Authority - 22 November 1995

Explaining that the item first showed Josh Kronfeld wearing the headgear and then

wearing the same headgear while playing, TVNZ agreed with Mr Turner that a longer

excerpt from the game would have allowed viewers to identify him clearly.

Nevertheless, TVNZ wrote:

The fact that the Waikato Draught billboard was visible during these brief shots

does not, we submit, mean that the broadcast was in breach of Standard A3 of

the Programme Standard for the Promotion of Liquor.

GALA's Final Comment - 29 November 1995

In GALA's response to TVNZ, Mr Turner maintained the opinion that the shots

from the game added nothing to the story. "Few viewers would have been able to

decide which player was Kronfeld". However, he argued Waikato Draught signage

was highly visible and, he contended:

I believe that from 80 minutes of play some action featuring Kronfeld but not

showing beer advertising could have been found.