BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Klaassen and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-101 (22 November 2022)

Members
  • Susie Staley MNZM (Chair)
  • John Gillespie
  • Tupe Solomon-Tanoa’i
  • Aroha Beck
Dated
Complainant
  • Nick Klaassen
Number
2022-101
Programme
Naked and Afraid
Broadcaster
Discovery NZ Ltd
Channel/Station
Rush

Summary

[This summary does not form part of the decision.]

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint that reality show Naked and Afraid, broadcast after 9pm on Rush, was indecent and should not be shown on television. In the show, a man and woman are left in a remote location naked and with few tools, with the goal to survive for 21 days. With reference to previous decisions on similar programmes, the Authority found the complaint should not be determined as it has consistently not upheld complaints concerning adult-oriented content on late night television when tools aiding choice and control are available. Further, the complaint concerned the complainant’s personal preferences and such complaints are not, in general, capable of being resolved by this complaints process.

Decline to Determine: Offensive and Disturbing Content, Discrimination and Denigration


The broadcast

[1]  On 8 August 2022, at 9.20pm on Rush, an episode of the reality show Naked and Afraid was broadcast. The programme features a man and woman left in a remote location in Malaysia for a reality television survival programme. Contestants have all frontal nudity blurred but buttocks are shown un-blurred.

[2]  The episode was classified M-L (advisory label L signals language that may offend). The classification symbols appeared on screen before the programme and after each advertisement break.

The complaint

[3]  Nick Klaassen complained the broadcast breached the offensive and disturbing content standard and discrimination and denigration standard, stating the show was ‘indecent’ as it showed bare bottoms, and was ’not Christian’.

The broadcaster’s response

[4]  Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) did not uphold the complaint for the following reasons:

  • The programme is aimed at adult audiences.
  • The programme was classified M (Mature Audiences). ‘This classification is given to programmes suitable for mature audiences 16 years and over. The M classification means the programme might contain violence, sexual material, offensive language, adult themes, nudity, or other content that some children and parents find challenging. The programme may contain content with a moderate impact and themes that require a mature outlook.’
  • ‘M programmes may be screened between 9 am to 3 pm on weekdays (except during school and public holidays, as designated by the Ministry of Education) and after 7.30 pm until 5 am.’
  • ‘The classification symbols M and L were displayed on-screen at the start of the Broadcast and after each commercial break.’
  • ‘The Committee maintains the title of the Broadcast provided viewers with a clear indication of the upcoming content.’
  • ‘While the nudity in the Broadcast is central to the premise of the series, scenes involving explicit nudity were blurred.’
  • The discrimination and denigration standard did not apply.

Outcome: declined to determine

[5]  We have watched the broadcast and read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

[6]  Section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 authorises this Authority to decline to determine a complaint if it considers that, in all the circumstances of the complaint, it should not be determined by the Authority.

[7]  In this case, the Authority considers it appropriate to exercise its section 11(b) discretion on the following grounds:

  • The Authority has consistently not upheld complaints about adult content being broadcast outside of children’s viewing times when tools aiding choice and control are available.1 In this case, the programme classification and title gave a clear indication of likely content.2
  • The complaint relates to the complainant’s preferences (as to what they believe should or should not be on television). Such complaints are not, in general, capable of being resolved by a complaints procedure.3
  • The discrimination and denigration standard does not address concerns regarding nudity (as opposed to content which encourages discrimination against an identified and recognised section of society).
  • The Authority does not consider determination of this complaint to be an appropriate use of its time and resources, as similar issues have been decided upon before.4

For the above reasons the Authority declines to determine the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Susie Staley
Chair
22 November 2022

 

 

Appendix

The correspondence listed below was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:

1  Nick Klaassen’s original complaint to WBD – 13 August 2022

2  WBD’s response to the complaint – 7 September 2022

3  Klaassen’s referral to the Authority – 8 September 2022


1 See for example: McMurchy and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2020-014 at [16]-[17]; Ball and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2016-074 at [12]-[13]
2 Broadcasting Standards Authority “Complaints That Are Unlikely To Succeed” (accessed 27 October 2022) <bsa.govt.nz>
3 Broadcasting Standards Authority “Guidance: BSA power to decline to determine a complaint” (accessed 27 October 2022) <bsa.govt.nz>
4 See, for example, Klaassen and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2022-072; Danes and Discovery NZ Ltd, Decision No. 2021-140; Hyslop & McElroy and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2018-073