BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Harang and Television New Zealand Ltd - 1998-107

Members
  • S R Maling (Chair)
  • R McLeod
  • L M Loates
  • J Withers
Dated
Complainant
  • Kristian Harang
Number
1998-107
Programme
One Network News
Channel/Station
TV One


Summary

The response to a promotion by a Melbourne record store where customers who were

prepared to shop naked were rewarded with a free CD, was the subject of a news item

broadcast on One Network News on 29 June 1998 between 6.00 and 7.00pm.

Mr Kristian Harang complained to Television New Zealand Ltd that the broadcast, in

family viewing time, of footage of naked people in the music store, had been offensive,

had glorified exhibitionism, and would have left younger viewers with the impression

that the behaviour portrayed was normal.

TVNZ argued that the commentary had informed viewers of the nature of the

promotion but the actual filming of the event had been discreet, with no explicit shots

of genital areas or female breasts. It did not consider the item to be offensive within

the context of a news report about an event in which nudity was an integral part. It

also did not believe the broadcast item would have harmed child viewers.

Dissatisfied with the decision, Mr Harang referred the complaint 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). In this instance, the Authority

determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

The response to a promotion by a Melbourne record store where customers who were

prepared to shop naked were rewarded with a free CD, was the subject of a news item

broadcast on One Network News on 29 June. The item had featured during the latter

part of the news hour.

Mr Harang complained to TVNZ that the broadcast, in family viewing time, of

footage showing naked people in the music store had been offensive, had glorified

exhibitionism, and would have left younger viewers with the impression that the

behaviour portrayed was normal. He maintained that the broadcast had breached

standards G2 and G12 of the Television Code of Broadcasting Practice. Those

standards 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.


TVNZ argued that while the commentary had informed viewers of the nature of the

promotion, the accompanying footage of the event had been discreet and had not

included any explicit detail of the naked participants. It did not consider the item to

have been offensive within the context of a news report about an event in which

nudity was an integral part. It also did not believe the broadcast of the item would

have harmed child viewers.

Dissatisfied with TVNZ's decision, Mr Harang referred his complaint to the

Authority for review. He wrote that he accepted that the shots of the naked

participants were not explicit, but maintained, nonetheless, that the public display of

nudity was indecent and, in his view, could have broken the law. The item, he added,

had little educational value, bordered on the sensational, and was unacceptable for

screening in family viewing time.

With regard to standard G2, the Authority is obliged to consider whether the degree of

nudity depicted in the item could be regarded as offensive and, as is required by the

standard, examines the item's context. The item, the Authority observes, was a light-

hearted piece about an unusual and quirky event, which had screened towards the end

of the news programme as a brief and entertaining human interest story. The

Authority notes that while the people depicted in the Melbourne CD store were

obviously naked, the footage had not included any gratuitous or graphic detail. The

Authority concludes, therefore, that the broadcast of the inexplicit footage was

inoffensive in context, and posed no threat to standard G2.

In its consideration of standard G12, the Authority examines whether the broadcaster

had been mindful of the effect of the broadcast on children. The Authority notes that

early evening news programmes are broadcast during family viewing time, and also

that, on this occasion, the broadcaster had been careful to obscure the bodies of the

customers involved in the promotion. It considers that the resultant inexplicit nudity

portrayed in the footage would not have disturbed younger viewers. Accordingly, it

finds that standard G12 was not breached on this occasion.

 

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


Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Sam Maling
Chairperson
24 September 1998

Appendix


Kristian Harang's Complaint to Television New Zealand Limited – 29 June
1998

Mr Kristian Harang of Auckland complained to Television New Zealand Ltd about an

item on One Network News regarding a music store competition in Melbourne which

had required its participants to be naked. Mr Harang stated that it was a criminal

offence to be naked in public, and maintained that the broadcast had "glorified

exhibitionism" by screening footage of naked people in the store. He contended that

teenagers and children viewing the broadcast would naturally assume that the type of

behaviour portrayed was normal. Mr Harang described the behaviour depicted in the

item as disgusting and alleged that the broadcast had contravened standards G2 and

G12 of the Television Code of Broadcasting Practice.

TVNZ's Response to the Formal Complaint – 24 July 1998

Television New Zealand Ltd advised Mr Harang that it had assessed his complaint

under standards G2 and G12 of the Television Code. The item, it stated, had reported

a remarkable response to a promotion offered by a Melbourne record store where

customers, who were prepared to shop naked, were rewarded with a free CD. The

broadcaster suggested that it was the event, rather than the television coverage, which

had offended Mr Harang and stated that, in its opinion, the item had not breached the

standards. It commented:

While the introduction and commentary quite properly told viewers of the

nature of the promotion and indicated the remarkable response in terms of

numbers attending, the actual filming of the event was at all times discreet.

There was no vision which included any genital areas or female breasts, and the

impression of nudity was carefully conveyed by judicious use of hairy legs

and stomachs, and bare shoulders.


Taking the above into account, and with regard to standard G2, TVNZ considered that

the item had not been offensive as the degree of nudity depicted had been appropriate

within the context of a news item about an actual event which involved naked people.

In relation to standard G12, TVNZ stated that it could not identify anything in the

broadcast item which could harm child viewers.

Accordingly, TVNZ declined to uphold the complaint.

Mr Harang's Referral of the Complaint to the Broadcasting Standards
Authority – 25 July 1998

Dissatisfied with the TVNZ's decision, Mr Harang referred his complaint to the

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

1989.

Mr Harang considered that the depiction of naked people in the film footage of the

competition had been offensive and had also breached standard G12 of the Codes. He

accepted that explicit shots of the naked participants were not shown, but argued

nonetheless that the depiction of such law-breaking and indecent behaviour in public

was unacceptable in family viewing time. The complainant was concerned that

teenagers and children viewing the item could be left with the impression that the

behaviour depicted was normal. He noted the broadcaster's comments that it was the

event itself, rather than the television coverage, which had raised his ire but maintained

that the item had little educational value and had bordered on the sensational.

TVNZ's Response to the Authority – 4 August 1998

TVNZ advised that it had no further comment to make.