Group Against Liquor Advertising and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1997-060
- J M Potter (Chair)
- L M Loates
- A Martin
- Group Against Liquor Advertising (GALA)
ProgrammeOne Network News
BroadcasterTelevision New Zealand Ltd
The decision to select all-rounder Chris Cairns as a batsman only in the remaining
cricket games against England was dealt with in the news headlines and in an item of
sports news, broadcast on One Network News between 6.00–7.00pm on 22 February
1997. For part of the item, he was shown batting in the nets.
Mr Cliff Turner, GALA's Complaints Secretary, complained to Television New
Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, that as liquor signage attached to the nets was
prominent, the item failed to minimise incidental liquor promotion.
Arguing that it was appropriate to show Chris Cairns practising his batting in the nets
on the day of the announcement, TVNZ declined to uphold the complaint.
Dissatisfied with TVNZ's decision, Mr Turner on GALA's behalf referred it to the
Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
For the reasons below, the Authority declines 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
determines the complaint without a formal hearing.
Because of an ankle injury, all-rounder Chris Cairns was selected for the New Zealand
cricket team to play England solely as a batsman. An announcement to this effect was
covered in the headlines of One Network News on 22 February 1997 and explored
further in an item of sports news. Chris Cairns was shown, in both the headlines and
the full item, in the middle net of a row of three, practising his batting skills. A
Dominion Breweries sign was attached to the back of the net behind him.
Mr Cliff Turner, Complaints Secretary for the Group Against Liquor Advertising
(GALA) complained to TVNZ that the signage was the kind of "blatant intrusion"
referred to in Guideline 8 of the Programme Standards for the Promotion of Liquor
and, accordingly, the broadcast breached standard A3 of those Programme Standards.
A3 Broadcasters will ensure that the incidental promotion of liquor is
In response to a specific request, TVNZ advised Mr Turner that Chris Cairns had not
been asked to move to another net before the shots of him were filmed. In view of this
response, Mr Turner argued that the breach was proven conclusively.
In its response to the complaint, TVNZ said it believed it was not entitled to seek to
move a news event. Chris Cairns was practising for his benefit, TVNZ continued, not
for the benefit of TVNZ's viewers.
Pointing out that the shot complained about lasted for three seconds, and that
Guideline 8 also explained that standard A3 did not require the total exclusion of all
promotions which were a normal feature of the situation being televised, TVNZ
declined to uphold the complaint.
When he referred GALA's complaint to the Authority, Mr Turner maintained that the
DB sign amounted to "blatant intrusion". He also pointed out that many people,
when they were being interviewed for television, carried out tasks at the broadcaster's
request which were obviously "stage managed".
In its consideration of the complaint, the Authority acknowledges that for a brief
period near the beginning of the item – three seconds – the Dominion Breweries sign
was clearly apparent. However, subsequently, it was either very much in the
background or not evident at all as the focus shifted to other players practising or
being interviewed. The Authority also acknowledges that the pictures were screened
in a news item about Chris Cairns. He was interviewed for the item but, it appears, in
a place some distance away from the nets. He was shown practising his batting in the
nets – for his benefit – in a situation where he was not a party to any stage managing.
Guideline 8 has been cited in support by both the complainant and the broadcaster. It
8 Television broadcasters must film events in such a manner as to minimise
the incidental promotion of liquor even when they are broadcasting in
situations where they have little or no control over liquor promotions such
as the placement of signage at sports events, the placement of backdrops
for news conferences or the wearing of branded apparel. If the liquor
promotion is so extensive that the activity or individual cannot be filmed,
despite the best efforts of the camera crew, without the blatant intrusion
of liquor promotions, the broadcast of that material will breach A3.
However, standard A3 is not intended to require the total exclusion of all
incidental promotions when they are a normal feature of the situation
In view of the brevity of time in which the signage could be described as a "blatant
intrusion", the Authority considers that the item did not amount to a breach of
standard A3 for this reason as it did not fall within the situation contemplated by
Although the complaint referred both to the headline and the item, the Authority is of
the view that it is necessary to focus on the full item in its determination of the
complaint. At that time, DB signage was apparent on the player's clothing as well as
on the sign attached to the nets. Having regard to the focus on Chris Cairns, his
distance from the nets when interviewed, the reporter's comments during the news
item, and the brevity of the time when the sign could be regarded as "blatant", the
Authority concludes that standard A3 was not breached.
For the reasons above, the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
15 May 1997
GALA's Complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd - 23 February 1996
GALA's Complaints Secretary, Mr Cliff Turner, complained to Television New
Zealand Ltd about an item of cricket news included on One Network News broadcast
between 6.00 - 7.00pm on 22 February 1997.
The news headlines and the item referred to all-rounder Chris Cairns being selected
only as a batsman and, on each occasion, Mr Cairns was seen in the nets with a
Dominion Breweries sign prominently placed behind him. Mr Turner said that the
coverage breached the standards as it did not minimise incidental promotion of liquor
as required by standard A3.
Mr Turner also argued that as the sign was a temporary one, it involved "blatant
intrusion" in contravention of Guideline 8 of the relevant Programme Standards and
rule 1.2 of the Voluntary Sports Code. Guideline 6, he added, noted that a breach of
rule 1.2 would almost invariably amount to a breach of standard A3.
In a further letter to TVNZ dated 24 February, Mr Turner observed that it was
apparent from the item that several nets were being used by the New Zealand team
but only one had DB signage. He asked whether any attempt had been made to move
Mr Cairns to one of the other nets before the item was filmed.
In response to the specific question, in a letter dated 3 March, TVNZ advised that the
answer was "No".
In his reply on GALA's behalf, Mr Turner argued that the response meant that
TVNZ had not made every effort to minimise the incidental promotion of liquor.
TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint - 12 March 1997
Pointing to the significance of the story in view of Chris Cairns' status as an all-
rounder, TVNZ wrote:
It was appropriate then to go to the nets where Mr Cairns was practising in
order to show viewers him sharpening his batting skills. Signage was present in
the form of a promotional sign at the rear of the centre of three adjoining nets.
It seems to us that, while we are entitled during interviews specially arranged for
TVNZ to ask a player to move away from liquor signage, and during news
conferences arranged for us to request the removal or reduction in logos, we are
not entitled to move a news event.
TVNZ explained that Mr Cairns was practising for his benefit - not for the benefit of
viewers - and to ask him to move could be seen as news manipulation. TVNZ also
contended that the signage was put up to be seen by visitors - not by television crews.
Further, it reported that the filming was done, justifiably, on the day of the
Turning to the standards, TVNZ stated that the signage did not give an appearance of
saturation in contravention of rule 1.1 of the Voluntary Sports Code and, agreeing that
Guideline 8 was relevant, maintained that sponsorship promotion was a normal
feature of the scene being televised. It declined to uphold the complaint.
GALA's Referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority - 18 March 1997
Dissatisfied with TVNZ's decision, Mr Turner referred GALA's complaint to the
Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
Mr Turner considered that the complaint raised the following three points:
1. Should TVNZ have shown a picture of Mr Cairns in front of a prominent
DB sign at the beginning of the news and shown it again during the sports
2. Was the DB sign such a "blatant intrusion" that TVNZ should not have
3. Can TVNZ claim to have made "best efforts" to reduce incidental liquor
promotion when it did not suggest that Mr Cairns should move to another
The words in inverted commas come from Guideline 8.
Elaborating on each of the above points, Mr Turner regarded it as unnecessary to
headline the Chris Cairns item and, on that basis, maintained that the incidental
promotion of liquor had not been minimised.
As for the news manipulation comment, Mr Turner pointed out that news items
showing people in offices were often stage-managed when they were seen leafing
through papers. He also referred to one occasion when he had pretended to receive a
letter at the request of a television reporter, and observed:
TVNZ admits that no attempt was made to persuade Cairns to move. It cannot
claim to have made "best efforts" to minimise incidental liquor promotion. It
should be borne in mind that there was other incidental liquor promotion on
players' clothing and so removal of scenes of the DB sign would not have
eliminated incidental promotion but merely minimised it.
In conclusion, he advised that he was not pursuing the aspect of the complaint alleging
a breach of the Voluntary Sports Code.
TVNZ's Response to the Authority - 25 March 1997
TVNZ advised that it had nothing further to add.