Glen and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2021-128 ( 20 December 2021)
- Susie Staley MNZM (Chair)
- John Gillespie
- Tupe Solomon-Tanoa’i
- Robbie Glen
ProgrammeThe Edge Breakfast
BroadcasterMediaWorks Radio Ltd
[This summary does not form part of the decision.]
An announcer on The Edge Breakfast recounted an experience at her antenatal class where she discussed how to address constipation post childbirth. The complaint was this segment breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The Authority did not uphold the complaint, taking into account the programme’s target audience, audience expectations, and the low-level language complained about (being of an anatomical, rather than a profane or sexual nature).
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency and Children’s Interests
 A segment of The Edge Breakfast broadcast on 17 September 2021 included an announcer’s, Megan Mansell’s, recount of her experience at a recent antenatal class. She stated:
Mansell: Morning, I had another antenatal class last night and I said something again that I feel like, somebody stitched me up and told me a fake fact… So it's a lovely, supportive group, but, I thought, somebody told me, if you are constipated or you can't poop after you've given birth because you're so scared of like stitches and stuff, and it's a very scary first poop, I've heard about that, that if you insert a finger, ummm, no way. I swear this is, I've been told this.
Mansell: Somebody told me this, and I thought it was a fun fact that if you insert a finger into your vagina and then you push backwards towards your bumhole, it'll just come out.
 Robbie Glen complained the broadcast breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards as Mansell ‘was talking about sticking a finger in a vagina. I had my 10yr and 5yr old in the car.’
The broadcaster’s response
 MediaWorks Radio Ltd (MediaWorks) did not uphold the complaint:
- ‘The Edge has a target audience of 18 to 39 year olds and is well known for appealing to an audience that is expecting more risqué content in an effort to entertain’.
- ‘In this instance, the announcer shared an anecdote about a personal experience related to her pregnancy. Her description included explicit anatomical references and biological processes however it did not include any coarse language or any sexual material. The point of sharing the anecdote was to entertain listeners in a self-deprecating manner.’
- The ‘regular target audience of The Edge wouldn’t have found the somewhat frank comments surprising, and may have laughed along with the announcer.’
- The ‘content did not contain any coarse language but referred to a “vagina” and a “bumhole” and discussed “pooping”.’
- ‘Furthermore, when the announcer started the anecdote, there were indications of the topic she was going to address, which gave parents time to make an alternative listening choice if they don’t want their children to hear the discussion. It was several minutes into the story before the announcer explicitly stated what she had been told to do to deal with constipation soon after giving birth.’
 The good taste and decency standard1 states current norms of good taste and decency should be maintained, consistent with the context of the programme. The standard is intended to protect audiences from content likely to cause widespread undue offence or distress, or undermine widely shared community standards.2
 The children’s interests standard3 states broadcasters should ensure children can be protected from broadcasts which might adversely affect them. The purpose of this standard is to enable audiences to protect children from material that unduly disturbs them, is harmful, or is likely to impair their physical, mental, or social development.4
 Context and audience expectations are crucial to both standards.5 Informed audiences can usually avoid unwanted material or supervise their children’s exposure to it.6
 We have listened to the broadcast and read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.
 The right to freedom of expression is an important right in a democracy and it is our starting point when considering complaints. We weigh the right to freedom of expression against potential harm caused by the broadcast. We may only intervene when the limitation on the right to freedom of expression is reasonable and justified.7
 We do not consider the broadcast undermined current norms of good taste and decency, or was likely to be unduly harmful or disturbing to children. In reaching this finding, we identified the following contextual factors:
- Radio stations usually have established target audiences and these allow stations to legitimately select and schedule content.8 The Edge has an adult target audience.
- Audience expectations of The Edge, this programme, and the particular brand of humour of the announcers.9
- The time of broadcast at 9.30 am on a Friday, when children are unlikely to be listening.10
- Anatomical, rather than coarse or sexual, language was used.
- The anecdote was intended to be humorous.
- There were sufficient indications (including an interruption from the co-announcer) to advise the audience of the topic being discussed prior to the sentence complained about.
 Children that were listening may not have understood some language (‘vagina’) prompting curiosity, and found other language silly (‘bumhole’ and ‘poop’). However, we do not consider the comments reached a threshold justifying regulatory intervention. Therefore, we do not uphold the complaint under the good taste and decency, and children’s interests, standards.
For the above reasons the Authority does not uphold the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
20 December 2021
The correspondence listed below was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:
1 Robbie Glen’s formal complaint – 17 September 2021
2 MediaWorks’s response to formal complaint – 27 October 2021
3 Glen’s referral to the Authority – 27 October 2021
4 MediaWorks’s response to referral – 10 November 2021
5 Glen’s confirmation of no further comments
1 Standard 1 of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice
2 Commentary: Good Taste and Decency, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 12
3 Standard 3 of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice
4 Commentary: Children’s Interests, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 13
5 Guidelines 1a and 3c
6 Commentary: Good Taste and Decency, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 12
7 Freedom of Expression: Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 6
8 Commentary: Good Taste and Decency, Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand Codebook, page 12
9 Harrison and MediaWorks Radio Ltd, Decision No. 2019-024 at 
10 Guideline 3a