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 - 1997-060

Members
  • J M Potter (Chair)
  • L M Loates
  • A Martin
Dated
Complainant
  • Group Against Liquor Advertising (GALA)
Number
1997-060
Programme
One Network News
Channel/Station
TV One


Summary

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.

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

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.

It states:

A3   Broadcasters will ensure that the incidental promotion of liquor is

minimised.


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

provides:

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

being televised.


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

Guideline 8.

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

 

Judith Potter
Chairperson
15 May 1997

Appendix


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.

Further Correspondence

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 continued:

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

announcement.

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

news?

2. Was the DB sign such a "blatant intrusion" that TVNZ should not have

shown it?

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

net?

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.