BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Turner and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2005-006

  • Joanne Morris (Chair)
  • Tapu Misa
  • Paul France
  • Diane Musgrave
  • Cliff Turner
Between the Sheets
TV One

Complaint under section 8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Between the Sheets – promo broadcast during One News at about 6.30pm – allegedly gratuitously violent


Standard 10 and Guideline 10a (gratuitous violence) – in view of brevity of the relatively innocuous incident included in a promo broadcast during the news, broadcaster showed care and discretion – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


[1] A promo for the AO-classified Between the Sheets was broadcast during One News on TV One beginning at 6.00pm on 4 January 2004. The promo briefly showed one man striking another, who fell back after being struck on the jaw or lower face.


[2] Cliff Turner complained to Television New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, that the violence was gratuitous and unacceptable at that hour.


[3] TVNZ assessed the complaint under Standard 10 and Guideline 10a of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice, which read:

Standard 10 Violence

In the preparation and presentation of programmes, broadcasters are required to exercise care and discretion when dealing with the issue of violence.


10a Broadcasters should ensure that any violence shown is not gratuitous and is justified by the context.

Broadcaster's Response to the Complainant

[4] Pointing out that One News, pursuant to the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice, was unclassified, TVNZ said that the news “routinely and necessarily contains images and ideas which reflect real life violence”. The news on 4 January, it added, included images of suffering and distress following the Indian Ocean tsunami.

[5] TVNZ contended that the fictional violence in the promo, when compared with real life events, was innocuous. It argued that the promo would not have breached the standard had it been broadcast during a G-classified programme. It considered that the violence contained in the promo, in the context of a news broadcast which was watched by mature people, or by children accompanied by adults, did not breach the standards.

Referral to the Authority

[6] Dissatisfied with TVNZ’s decision, Mr Turner referred his complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority under s.8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

[7] Arguing that the violence shown was gratuitous and not justified by context, Mr Turner raised the possibility that it might have been shown during other programmes.

Broadcaster’s Response to the Authority

[8] TVNZ said it had nothing to add to the complaint about the promo which had been screened during One News on 4 January.

Authority's Determination

[9] The members of the Authority have viewed a tape of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix. The Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

[10] Standard 10 requires broadcasters to exercise care and discretion when dealing with the issue of violence. The Authority considers that such care and discretion was evident on this occasion.

[11] In arriving at this decision, the Authority has taken into account:

  • the brevity of the violence shown
  • the relatively innocuous nature of the actual incident portrayed.
  • the audience which would have been mainly adult viewers and children in the company of care givers
  • the likelihood of viewer familiarity with the series Between the Sheets

[12] Taking into account these matters, the Authority finds that the broadcast of the promo did not contravene Standard 10.


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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Joanne Morris
20 April 2005


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

  1. Cliff Turner’s formal complaint to Television New Zealand Ltd – 5 January 2005
  2. TVNZ’s response to the formal complaint – 4 February 2005
  3. Mr Turner’s referral to the Broadcasting Standards Authority – 9 February 2005
  4. TVNZ’s response to the Authority – 28 February 2005