BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present
All Decisions
Neal and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2024-018 (22 April 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint a 1News segment on James Shaw’s decision to resign as co-leader of the Green Party breached the accuracy, balance, and fairness standards for including a statement from former Prime Minister Chris Hipkins that emissions had decreased for three years in a row. The Authority found the statement was not a material fact likely to impact the audience’s understanding of the broadcast as a whole – which was focussed on Shaw’s resignation and legacy and not on emissions levels. The balance and fairness standards did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance and Fairness

Waisbrod and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2024-012 (22 April 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint a news report on 1News breached several standards, by using the phrase Hamas ‘fighters’, rather than Hamas ‘terrorists’. The Authority found the choice of word could not reasonably be said to encourage the different treatment of Jewish or Israeli people, devalue their reputation, or embed negative stereotypes about them. Under accuracy, the Authority found the word was not inaccurate, was not material in the context of the broadcast as a whole, and there was no harm at a level justifying limitation of the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression and editorial independence. The balance and fairness standards did not apply.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy, Balance and Fairness

Hart and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2024-002 (8 April 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a statement on RNZ National that the new Government ‘plans to repeal Smokefree legislation to fund tax cuts’ breached the accuracy and balance standards. The Authority found the accuracy standard was not breached noting other content within the broadcast and interviews with National Party members before the programme meant audience members were unlikely to be misled. The balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance

Greyhound Racing New Zealand Inc and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2023-116 (8 April 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on Newshub Live at 6pm reporting on a disqualification hearing for a greyhound trainer was inaccurate and unfair. The complainant argued the broadcast’s description of the facts leading to two charges against the trainer (related to failing to ensure the welfare of two dogs), was misleading. The complainant also argued it was unfair to comment on the trainer’s potential disqualification sentence before it had been finalised, impeding the trainer’s ‘right to a fair trial’. The Authority found the broadcast was not materially misleading overall, or reasonable efforts had been made to ensure accuracy, and did not give rise to any unfairness to the trainer. The public interest in the story outweighed the low risk of harm.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

Wilson and NZME Radio Ltd - 2023-085 (8 April 2024)

The Authority has upheld a complaint that comments made by Kate Hawkesby on Early Edition with Kate Hawkesby, about the newly introduced Equity Adjustor Score in the Auckland region, were misleading. The Equity Adjustor Score is a system which uses five categories to place patients on the non-urgent surgical waitlist, including clinical priority, time spent waiting, location, deprivation level and ethnicity. Hawkesby made statements to the effect that the Score meant Māori and Pacific Peoples were being ‘moved to the top of surgery waitlists’. The Authority found the comments to be materially misleading in relation to the nature and impact of the Score, as they gave the impression that ethnicity was the only, or the key factor, involved in the assessment, and that Māori and Pacific patients would be given immediate precedence on the surgical waitlist as a result, when this was not the case. It also found the comments breached the discrimination and denigration standard, by reinforcing the stereotype that Māori and Pacific Peoples disproportionately take up resources and are given undeserved special treatment in Aotearoa New Zealand’s society, at the expense of other ethnicities.

Upheld: Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration

Orders: Section 13(1)(a) broadcast statement; Section 16(4) - $1,500 costs to the Crown

Zaky and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2024-004 (20 March 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an interview with an Israeli soldier on Morning Report breached several standards. The complainant alleged statements made by the interviewee were inaccurate, discriminated against Palestinians and Middle Eastern people, and were offensive and disturbing and unbalanced. The Authority found that the statements of the interviewee were comment, analysis or opinion to which the accuracy standard does not apply and, if not, the broadcaster had made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy. The Authority also found the comments were not directed at Palestinians and Middle Eastern people and were, in any event, serious comment, analysis or opinion to which the discrimination and denigration standard does not apply; the comments did not seriously violate community standards of taste and decency; and the interview did not breach the balance standard noting it was clearly signalled as presented from a particular perspective.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration, Offensive and Disturbing Content,  Balance

Hart and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2024-003 (20 March 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that RNZ breached the accuracy and balance standards of the Code of Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand for including a statement in a news bulletin that Israel was ‘carpet bombing the Palestinian territory’. The Authority noted that it is not its role to determine the definitive meaning of the term ‘carpet bombing’; nor to determine whether Israel has carried out ‘carpet bombing’. The Authority’s role is to decide whether reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy. Noting ‘carpet bombing’ carries multiple meanings and the story was focused on the impacts of the bombing (not military strategy), the Authority did not find any material inaccuracy likely to impact the audience’s understanding of the broadcast as a whole. The balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance

Penny and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2024-006 (20 March 2024)

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint about a news bulletin on RNZ Concert which reported on Māori and Pasifika honoured in the 2024 New Year Honours list. The complainant alleged that only referring to Māori and Pasifika honourees was ‘reverse racism’. In all the circumstances, the Authority found the complaint did not raise any issues of broadcasting standards that could be properly determined by its complaints process.

Declined to determine (section 11(b) in all the circumstances): Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness

GE Free NZ in Food & Environment Inc and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2024-007 (20 March 2024)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a segment on AM, discussing the possible deregulation of GMOs, breached the balance and accuracy standards of the Code of Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand. The segment included two interviews with proponents for deregulation, which the complainant considered to be unbalanced, resulting in the audience being misled. The Authority did not uphold the balance complaint, finding the segment adequately acknowledged the existence of other perspectives, and that the topic had a long history of controversy, meaning the audience could reasonably be expected to be aware of different perspectives. The Authority did not uphold the accuracy complaint, finding the introduction of one of the interviewees was not misleading.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance

Garbutt and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2024-013 (20 March 2024)

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint alleging 1News breached the balance standard by failing to cover comments made by Labour MP Ginny Andersen. The Authority found in all the circumstances the complaint should not be determined as it amounted to the complainant’s personal preference regarding matters of editorial discretion.

Declined to determine (section 11(b) in all the circumstances): Balance

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