The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Sunday documenting a woman’s final months before her assisted death. The complainant alleged the broadcast breached the balance standard as it included no discussion of palliative care or alternative viewpoints regarding assisted dying. The children’s interests standard was also impliedly raised in the complaint. The Authority found the balance standard did not apply as the item did not constitute a discussion of the issue of assisted dying. The children’s interests standard was not breached as the context of the programme and signalling of content meant it was suitable to be broadcast in its timeslot.
Not Upheld: Balance, Children’s interests
The Authority has not upheld an accuracy complaint about an item on Newshub Live at 6pm reporting on clashes between mourners and Israeli police at the funeral of a Palestinian-American journalist in East Jerusalem. Footage of the events was accompanied by a caption onscreen stating ‘Jerusalem, Israel,’ which the complainant considered was inaccurate. The Authority found the brief caption would not have materially affected viewers’ understanding of the item as a whole and therefore the accuracy standard was not breached.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
The Authority found it had jurisdiction to determine a complaint about broadcasts on RNZ National, as the complainant’s original complaint to the broadcaster constituted a formal complaint under the Broadcasting Act 1989. While the broadcaster was of the view the complaint was not lodged under broadcasting standards, the Authority found it expressly or implicitly identified broadcasting standards allegedly breached by the broadcasts.
The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the accuracy standard in relation to an interview on AM with Dr Russell Norman about agricultural emissions. The complainant alleged Dr Norman’s statements concerning dairy cow numbers, the herd getting larger, and the amount of effluent produced by cows were inaccurate. The Authority found two of the statements were materially accurate and would not have misled the audience, and the third was analysis, comment or opinion to which the accuracy standard does not apply.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
A segment on The Project reported on ‘hateful attacks’ occurring during Pride month, including claims of discrimination at Bethlehem College (and the Ministry of Education’s announcement it will investigate the issue) and the burning down of a Rainbow Youth centre in Tauranga. The segment included an interview with a rainbow activist who considered ‘extremist Christians’ had burnt the centre down. The presenters discussed the issue following the report and noted they hoped the investigation would bring about ‘some change in a place that really needs it.’ The complainant considered the segment breached various standards as the cause of the fire was under investigation at the time of the broadcast, and the College was portrayed unfairly. The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding the relevant comments did not reach the high threshold justifying a restriction on freedom of expression. The Authority also found the College was not required to have an opportunity to respond in the circumstances.
Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness, Balance, Accuracy
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on 1 News concerning increased racism experienced by public figures in relation to co-governance issues breached the balance, accuracy and discrimination and denigration standards. The complainant alleged the association of opponents of co-governance with racist abuse was an attempt to paint all opponents as racist and stop debate. The Authority found the broadcast was accurate and the expert featured could reasonably be relied upon, and the balance standard was not applicable. While the complainant was concerned the broadcasts denigrated opponents of co-governance, this group is not a recognised section of society for the purposes of the standard.
Not upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration
The Authority has not upheld a complaint regarding comments made by the presenters of The Project about Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth. The presenters asked Kanoa Lloyd, who was at the Sydney premiere of Thor: Love and Thunder, about her experience interviewing the actors and ‘which one was hotter’ of the two. Lloyd said she embarrassed herself in front of the actors as she was talking about Hemsworth’s butt in the interview and that she preferred Hemsworth ‘just because I've seen the full Chris, and that's hotter to me’. The complainant considered the discussion was inappropriate ‘in our current #metoo society’. The Authority acknowledged societal issues surrounding sexual harassment and concerns regarding the normalisation of female-to-male sexual objectification. However, the comments in this instance did not go beyond audience expectations of The Project. They were not explicit or graphic, nor were the comments made with malice or nastiness and therefore they did not reach the high threshold justifying regulatory intervention and a corresponding restriction on the right to freedom of expression.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
An item on 1 News reported on clashes between mourners and Israeli police at the funeral of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item was misleading by implying the locations of Abu Akleh’s death and her funeral were in Israel and by impliedly ‘exonerating’ Israel for its police force’s actions at the funeral and for Abu Akleh’s death. While the item did not specify the city or country where the events took place, the Authority found the generic place descriptors used combined with references to ‘Israeli police’ and ‘Israeli forces’ being present would not have misled the audience to believe the events occurred in Israel. It further found the broadcast did not impliedly ‘exonerate’ Israel.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the accuracy standard regarding a 1 News report that ‘thousands have again protested outside the White House against the recent Supreme Court decision to scrap the constitutional right to abortion’. The complaint was that the United States constitution does not include the right to abortion. The Authority found the item was not inaccurate in this respect, as a previous Supreme Court decision (Roe v. Wade) had interpreted the US Constitution as conferring a right to abortion.
Not upheld: Accuracy
Warning: This decision contains content that some readers may find distressing.
An item on 1 News reporting on a mass shooting in Buffalo, US, showed an edited clip from the attacker’s livestream video. The clip, approximately 16 seconds long and without audio, showed the masked attacker driving into the supermarket carpark, stopping his vehicle, getting out of the car and raising a gun. The complaint alleged the broadcast of the clip breached the good taste and decency, violence, and law and order broadcasting standards. While the Authority found the matter to be finely balanced, in the context of the broadcast as a whole – taking into account the content of the clip, and the public interest in both the broadcast as a whole and the clip itself – a majority of the Authority found that ultimately the broadcast of the clip did not reach a level of actual or potential harm sufficient to justify restricting the broadcaster’s freedom of expression under the nominated standards. A minority found the broadcast was in breach of the good taste and decency standard.
Not Upheld by Majority: Good Taste and Decency, Violence, Law and Order