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Decisions
Cave and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-013 (29 June 2020)
2020-013

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that news items on 1 News about New Year’s celebrations welcoming in 2020 were inaccurate when referencing the start of ‘the second decade’. The Authority found that the broadcast did not refer to ‘the second decade’, only ‘the new decade’. The reference to 2020 as the start of a new decade (when arguably the decade begins in 2021, as modern calendars began counting at 1) did not amount to a material inaccuracy for the purposes of the accuracy standard. The Authority also found that the broadcast’s references to ‘the new decade’ (and similar) were not inaccurate as the term has different meanings when used from calendrical and cultural perspectives.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Haapamaki & Ball and Sky Network Television Ltd - 2020-015
2020-015

The Authority has not upheld two complaints that a promo for the ASB Women’s Classic tennis competition was in breach of the good taste and decency and discrimination and denigration standards of the Pay Television Code of Broadcasting Practice. The promo depicted a tennis player’s skirt flying up in a brief action shot of her hitting the ball. While acknowledging the potential effect of repeatedly viewing this clip, the Authority found that ultimately the clip was not likely to undermine current norms of good taste and decency and did not contain the high level of condemnation or malice necessary to find a breach of the discrimination and denigration standard. The broadcaster provided an explanation for the selection of the clip and the Authority was satisfied that the promo would not cause harm at a level justifying regulatory intervention.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Martin and Mediaworks Television Ltd - 2020-002 (29 June 2020)
2020-002

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Mark Richardson’s response to a gift from a guest on The AM Show breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. Noting contextual factors, including audience expectations of the programme and of Mr Richardson, the Authority did not consider that Mr Richardson’s comments were likely to cause widespread undue offence or distress, undermine widely shared community standards or adversely affect children. The Authority also did not uphold a complaint that a discussion about beer brands breached the alcohol standard. While the Authority found that the positive comments regarding Peroni could be regarded as promotion of the Peroni brand, the Authority considered that any promotion of alcohol was socially responsible in the context.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Alcohol

Decisions
McMurchy and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-014 (29 June 2020)
2020-014

The Authority did not uphold a complaint under the good taste and decency standard about the use of coarse language in the American action comedy film Beverly Hills Cop. Taking into account relevant contextual factors, including the AO classification, time of broadcast at 8.30pm during adult viewing time, clear warning for frequent use of coarse language, and audience expectations of the film and TVNZ DUKE, the Authority was satisfied the broadcaster gave viewers sufficient information to regulate their own, and their children’s, viewing. In the context, the broadcast did not threaten community standards of good taste and decency and the broadcaster adequately enabled child viewers to be protected from potentially unsuitable content.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests

Decisions
Ministry of Education & I.D.C. New Zealand Ltd and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-101 (29 June 2020)
2019-101

The Authority has found that a segment on Newshub regarding the sale of a report summarising data received from schools in a survey run by the Ministry of Education and I.D.C. New Zealand Limited breached the accuracy standard. The item reported on concerns of the New Zealand Educational Institute and survey participants regarding the sale of the report to Microsoft and Google. The Authority found that the statement ‘sensitive, private data about schools and their students pawned off to private companies by Chinese data giant’, which was included in the item, was materially inaccurate and likely to mislead viewers given the data contained in the report was anonymised and aggregated. The Authority also found the broadcaster did not make reasonable efforts to ensure that the relevant statement was accurate and did not mislead.

Upheld: Accuracy

No orders

Decisions
Mould and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2020-017 (29 June 2020)
2020-017

The Authority did not uphold a complaint under the good taste and decency standard about a brief segment on The Project displaying an image of a scented candle developed by celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow. The complaint was that the name of the candle was disgusting and vile and unnecessary to report on. The Authority acknowledged that this content could have been better signposted for viewers, and some may have been surprised by it and found it distasteful. However reporting the name of the candle in itself did not threaten standards of good taste and decency at a level which warranted limiting freedom of expression, taking into account the wider context of the broadcast. The segment reported on a real product available for sale and the item viewed in its entirety was consistent with audience expectations of The Project and its typical style of presentation and humour.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Brereton & Riches and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-097 (16 June 2020)
2019-097

The Authority has upheld two complaints that a segment on The Project, about an incident where charges against a man who allegedly shot at a drone were dropped, was in breach of the fairness and accuracy standards. The Authority found the segment was unfair to the man and would have misled audiences as it provided an inaccurate account of events through an interview with the drone’s pilot and additional comments from presenters. The drone pilot interviewee was allowed to put forward unchallenged his views on the man, and the broadcaster did not do enough to provide the man with an opportunity to respond to the comments. As the broadcast did not disclose any private information about the man, nor discuss a controversial issue of public importance, the privacy and balance standards were not upheld.

Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy

Not Upheld: Privacy, Balance

No orders

Decisions
Conn and Television New Zealand - 2020-011 (16 June 2020)
2020-011

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the usage of the word ‘root’ in a Seven Sharp item breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The Authority took into account the relevant contextual factors including the nature of the discussion, the nature of the programme and the audience expectations of the programme. The Authority did not consider that the use of the word threatened community norms of good taste and decency, or that any potential harm justified restricting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests

Decisions
Cooper and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-116 (16 June 2020)
2019-116

The Authority did not uphold a complaint under the discrimination and denigration standard about a personal anecdote told by Seven Sharp presenter Jeremy Wells, describing the moment ‘Angela D’Audney sat on my desk as a 20-year-old in a leopard-print mini-skirt’. Stumbling over his words, Mr Wells then said, ‘see, it’s got me excited even thinking about it’. The complaint was that Mr Wells: outlined sexually inappropriate conduct against a female coworker; undermined and demeaned his female coworkers; and by saying it on national television, normalised and condoned sexual discrimination in the workplace. The Authority acknowledged Mr Wells’ choice of anecdote was ill-advised and inappropriate and that it may have offended some people. However it emphasised that in itself is not sufficient to find a broadcast encouraged discrimination or denigration. There is a high threshold for finding a breach, in light of the important right to freedom of expression. In this case, the comments were clearly not intended to be malicious or nasty, but rather as a light-hearted personal anecdote following ‘The Friday Countdown’ segment which celebrated 50 years of the network news. In the context, the broadcast did not encourage the denigration of, or discrimination against, women as a section of the community.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Golden and Radio New Zealand - 2019-095 (16 June 2020)
2019-095

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint regarding a broadcast discussing Fonterra’s write-down of assets and the Reserve Bank’s announcement of an official cash rate cut. The Authority considered that the complaint was trivial, frivolous and vexatious and raised matters which were not covered in the broadcast and amounted to the complainant’s personal preference rather than issues of broadcasting standards.

Declined to Determine: Accuracy

Decisions
Hearn and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-001 (16 June 2020)
2020-001

The Authority upheld a complaint that a broadcast of First Up was misleading and breached the accuracy standard. The Authority found the quiz question ‘what charges did Sweden drop last week against WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange?’ was misleading, as charges were never formally laid against Mr Assange. The Authority also found that RNZ did not make reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of the broadcast noting that the error was careless. The Authority did not make any orders on this occasion.

Upheld: Accuracy

No Orders

Decisions
Lowes and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2020-004 (16 June 2020)
2020-004

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint that a reference to ‘the future King of England’ during a news segment was inaccurate. The complainant has previously referred a number of complaints about similar issues to the Authority, which were either not upheld, with comprehensive reasons given for the Authority’s decision, or which the Authority declined to determine. The complainant’s appeal of a previous decision to the High Court on a similar issue was also dismissed. The Authority therefore declined to determine the complaint under section 11(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989, on the grounds that it was trivial and vexatious.

Declined to Determine: Accuracy

Decisions
O'Leary and New Zealand Media Entertainment Ltd - 2020-009 (16 June 2020)
2020-009

A complaint regarding a comment made by radio host Chris Lynch in relation to a news report that Whakaari was going to receive a blessing in the wake of the fatal volcanic eruption has not been upheld. The Authority found that considering the relevant contextual factors, Mr Lynch’s comment ‘because that’s going to change everything isn’t it?’ was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress. The Authority also noted that, while the comment had the potential to offend some listeners, comments will not breach the discrimination and denigration standard simply because they are critical of a particular group, because they offend people, or because they are rude.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Eastman and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-111 (9 June 2020)
2019-111

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an episode of Yo-Kai Watch was in breach of the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. It found that, while the episode contained negative stereotypes that may not be appropriate for children, and which some parents or caregivers may not approve of, the adult themes and sexual innuendos within the episode were not likely to be understood by child viewers, and the potential harm did not reach the level justifying regulatory intervention.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests

Decisions
Gale and Sky Network Television Ltd - 2019-084 (9 June 2020)
2019-084

In an episode of Rugby Nation, commentator Tony Johnson made a reference to Israel Folau using the phrase ‘the F word’. The Authority has not upheld a complaint that this breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The complainant argued that the broadcast was harmful to Mr and Mrs Folau. However, as two individuals they are not a recognised section of the community as required by the standard. The discrimination and denigration standard therefore did not apply. The Authority declined to imply the good taste and decency or fairness standards into the complaint on the basis that the original complaint did not raise arguments consistent with an alleged breach of those standards.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
McCullough and NZME Radio Ltd - 2020-008 (9 June 2020)
2020-008

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a discussion on a talkback segment on Newstalk ZB breached broadcasting standards. The Authority found that the complainant, who had called in to the programme, was not treated unfairly as she was given an opportunity to voice her opinion and was treated respectfully. The Authority also found that the broadcast’s criticism of United States President Donald Trump did not exceed what could fairly be expected to be levelled against a highly controversial United States President. The Authority noted that the balance and accuracy standards apply only to news, current affairs and factual programmes, and the accuracy standard does not apply to statements clearly distinguishable as analysis, comment or opinion. The discrimination and denigration standard also did not apply as it does not apply to individuals or organisations.

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

Decisions
Richards and MediaWorks Ltd - 2020-006 (9 June 2020)
2020-006

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a Newshub item reporting on changes to Reserve Bank rules requiring commercial banks to hold more capital in reserve was unbalanced. The item focussed on the potential effects of new capital requirements on the public, particularly borrowers. The Authority recognised that the item discussed a controversial issue of public importance and was satisfied that the item featured significant viewpoints on the particular issue discussed. The Authority also noted that the issue had been widely covered in other news media and viewers could be expected to receive a broad understanding of the main perspectives on the issue within the period of current interest.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
The University of Otago and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-082 (9 June 2020)
2019-082

The University of Otago (the University) complained that three broadcasts by TVNZ, about sexual assault allegations by former and current students of the University, breached the fairness, balance and accuracy standards of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice. The complaint about Sunday was not upheld, but aspects of the complaint about Breakfast and 1 News were upheld. Overall, the Sunday programme was balanced, as it included comment from the University and was clearly signalled as coming from the perspective of the women interviewed. No material inaccuracies were identified, and the University was given a reasonable opportunity to respond. However, the Breakfast and 1 News items focussed more specifically on perceived shortcomings of the University and its decision not to be interviewed, resulting in unfairness to the University. The Authority also found that the Breakfast programme lacked balance. The Authority made no orders, and determined that the publication of the decision was sufficient to publicly notify the breach, to censure the broadcaster and to provide appropriate guidance to the broadcaster and broadcasters generally.

Sunday: Not Upheld: Fairness, Balance, Accuracy

Breakfast: Upheld: Fairness, Balance. Not Upheld: Accuracy (Action Taken)

1 News: Upheld: Fairness. Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

No orders

Decisions
Bidwell and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-003 (27 May 2020)
2020-003

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an interview with ACT Party leader David Seymour, on the day of the final reading in Parliament of the End of Life Choice Bill, was unbalanced. The complainant submitted that Mr Seymour was given free licence to give his views from his perspective as the sponsor and a strong advocate of the Bill, and it was important that either someone with opposing views was also given an opportunity, or that the interviewer critically questioned him, given the item’s proximity to the final reading of the Bill. The Authority accepted that issues surrounding the Bill and the euthanasia debate more broadly amounted to a controversial issue of public importance that triggered the requirements of the balance standard. However, it noted the balance standard allows for significant viewpoints to be presented over time (within the period of current interest), and the Authority was satisfied the issue was widely covered in the months preceding the second and third (final) reading of the Bill, including presenting opposing views. Additionally, the Authority found both the interviewer and Mr Seymour acknowledged the existence of alternative perspectives within the item.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
Boyce and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-005 (27 May 2020)
2020-005

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about comments made separately by two RNZ commentators to the effect that the UK Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn has ‘terrorist connections’. The complainant submitted the comments breached the balance and accuracy standards, on the basis it was wrong and offensive to suggest Mr Corbyn is a Marxist and supports terrorism, and Nine to Noon refuses to interview anyone sympathetic towards the UK Labour Party. The Authority found the comments were clearly distinguishable as comment, analysis and opinion, rather than statements of fact to which the accuracy standard applied. The Authority also found the items, in which the commentators gave their analysis of the likely and eventual outcome of the British election, did not amount to discussions of a controversial issue of public importance in New Zealand.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance

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