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Decisions
Harvey and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-023 (24 August 2020)
2020-023

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the use of the term ‘bugger’ by weather presenter Dan Corbett during a broadcast of Seven Sharp. The Authority considered the term constituted low level coarse language which would not have offended a significant number of listeners in the context of the broadcast.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Marshall and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-046 (24 August 2020)
2020-046

Warning: This decision contains coarse language that some readers may find offensive

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that use of the word ‘cunt’ in the New Zealand crime drama series, One Lane Bridge, breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority observed that the standard is not intended to prevent the broadcast of legitimate drama and considered that the threshold for its intervention had not been reached. It determined that use of the word, in its context, did not contain the level of malice or nastiness required to find a breach of the discrimination and denigration standard and did not amount to hate speech or a sustained attack on women as a section of the community.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Judge and Television New Zealand - 2020-27 (21 July 2020)
2020-027

An item on Seven Sharp featured a community hunting event for children under the age of 16. The item included footage of children using firearms, children carrying dead animals, and animal carcasses hanging by their hind legs. Taking into account the relevant contextual factors including the programme’s target audience and audience expectations, the Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item breached the good taste and decency, children’s interests and violence standards. The Authority noted that the item did not depict animals dying or being killed, and the content was clearly signposted by the presenters.

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

Decisions
Judge and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-026 (21 July 2020)
2020-026

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an episode of Sunday concerning the increasing population of wallabies in New Zealand was inaccurate and unbalanced. The Authority found that the balance standard did not apply as the segment did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance. The Authority also found that the reference to wallabies as an ‘Aussie pest’ did not amount to a material inaccuracy as it was unlikely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the programme as a whole.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

Decisions
Oliver and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-010 (21 July 2020)
2020-010

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about two items reporting on the Conservative Party electoral victory in the 2019 United Kingdom general election. The items were on consecutive broadcasts of 1 News.  The complainant submitted that a statement by the news presenter that Boris Johnson had won a 365 seat majority in the United Kingdom Parliament was inaccurate, as Mr Johnson’s party had won 365 seats of the total number of 650 seats in Parliament and had an overall majority of 80 seats over all other political parties. The Authority did not consider that this was a material inaccuracy or that viewers would be significantly misinformed by the use of the phrase ‘a 365 seat majority.’

Not Upheld: Accuracy

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
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
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
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
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
Matthew and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-114 (27 May 2020)
2019-114

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview on Breakfast with a public health researcher regarding the potentially carcinogenic properties of glyphosate, an ingredient in commonly available and widely used weed killers. The Authority found there was no breach of the balance standard as viewers would have been sufficiently aware of the existence of alternate views (both from the programme itself and from other reporting within the period of current interest) and that the accuracy standard did not apply as the relevant statements were analysis and opinion.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

Decisions
Gibson and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-117 (7 May 2020)
2019-117

In a 1 News report on the ruling of the UK Supreme Court that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks was unlawful, a statement was made in the introduction of the item that Boris Johnson had ‘lied to the Queen’. TVNZ upheld the complaint that the statement was inaccurate, apologised to the complainant and held discussions with the news team to ensure that systems were put in place to reduce the risk of inaccurate reporting. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the action taken by TVNZ was insufficient, finding that the action was appropriate and proportionate to the breach identified.

Not Upheld: Accuracy (Action Taken)

Decisions
Torrey & Mayell and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-102 (7 May 2020)
2019-102

A 1 News item reported on the confessions of a man identified as America’s most prolific serial killer, Samuel Little. The Authority did not uphold complaints that the inclusion of a statement by the man breached the good taste and decency, children’s interests and violence standards. The Authority determined that the content was justified by context and in the public interest. The Authority acknowledged the high value in news and current affairs reporting and noted that the introduction to the item (which included reference to a ‘chilling’ police interview) was adequate to inform viewers of the nature of the coverage enabling them to adequately protect themselves and their children from the content by choosing not to watch. However, the Authority noted that where broadcasters provide audience advisories about potentially challenging content through a programme host’s introduction, it is important that the introduction is factual and captures the nature of the content to come.

Not upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests and Violence

Decisions
Arps and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-073A (7 May 2020)
2019-073A

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a 1 News segment breached the discrimination and denigration and balance standards. The Authority found that people who hold the views represented in the segment do not amount to a ‘recognised section of the community’ for the purposes of the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority also found that, while the broadcast discussed a controversial issue of public importance, it was balanced by the inclusion of multiple points of view from several parties.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Balance

Decisions
Malone and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-099 ( 7 April 2020)
2019-099

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the term ‘synthetic cannabis’ in a 1 News segment that reported on these products and their likely link to a number of deaths breached the accuracy or programme information standards. The Authority cited a recent decision where it found that while these products do not contain actual cannabis, the term ‘synthetic cannabis’ is commonly used to describe them and is unlikely to mislead viewers. Therefore, the Authority did not consider it likely viewers would be significantly misinformed by its use in this broadcast. The Authority also did not identify any breaches of the programme information standard.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Programme Information

Decisions
ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-070 (25 March 2020)
2019-070

The Authority upheld a complaint from ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd (‘ANZ’) that an item on Seven Sharp was inaccurate and misleading. The item concerned a customer who had had a dispute with the bank and in December 2018 entered an ANZ branch and pretended he had a bomb. The Authority agreed that the item breached the accuracy standard as it created a misleading impression that the customer was paid a settlement as a result of his actions at the bank, when in fact the dispute had been settled and he had received a settlement payment months earlier. The Authority considered the question of whether the item undermined law and order to be borderline. The broadcaster took a light-hearted human interest approach to a serious story, and the item risked encouraging and promoting illegal activity. However, the Authority concluded the presenters’ comments at the end of the item adequately denounced the actions, making it sufficiently clear that the customer’s actions were unacceptable. The Authority concluded that the item as a whole did not actively encourage illegal behaviour. The Authority acknowledged the broadcast may have been upsetting for bank staff involved in the events, but found the fairness standard could not be applied to them as viewers of the item (rather than participants). The Authority considered the publication of this decision sufficient to censure the breach of standards by the broadcaster and made no orders.

Upheld: Accuracy. Not Upheld: Law and Order, Fairness.

No order.

Decisions
Atkin and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-094 (9 March 2020)
2019-094

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment on Seven Sharp regarding an advertisement by Fluoride Free NZ. Mark Atkin, on behalf of Fluoride Free NZ, complained that the programme was in breach of the balance and accuracy standards. The Authority found that the segment did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance, as required for the balance standard to apply. The Authority also found that none of the points identified by the complainant were inaccurate.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

Decisions
Garrett and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-093 (9 March 2020)
2019-093

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that an item on 1 News about the release of the Department of Corrections’ strategy ‘Hōkai Rangi’, aimed at reducing the disproportionately high number of Māori in prisons, was unbalanced. The Authority recognised that the item discussed a controversial issue of public importance to which the balance standard applied, but found that the broadcaster provided sufficient balance for viewers. The item included a number of significant viewpoints on the issue, including comment from: Corrections Minister, Hon Kelvin Davis; justice campaigner, Sir Kim Workman; Corrections Chief Executive, Christine Stevenson; and the National Party’s spokesperson for Corrections, David Bennett. Hōkai Rangi was also widely reported on in other news media during the period of current interest. While the complainant wished for different individuals to be interviewed and/or to be given more air time, the Authority found that did not result in the news item being unbalanced or prevent the audience from reaching an informed view on the issue.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
Gibb and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-089 (9 March 2020)
2019-089

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that an episode of 20/20 aired on free-to-air television on a Sunday at 9am, covering the abduction of Steven Stayner and the subsequent murder of several women by Steven’s brother Cary Stayner, breached the children’s interests and good taste and decency standards. The Authority found that, while the broadcast discussed some potentially distressing themes and subject matter, such as rape, murder and kidnapping, viewers had sufficient information to enable them to make informed choices about whether they or children in their care should view the broadcast. The Authority highlighted the importance of audience expectations and target audiences in their determination and ultimately found any restriction on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression on this occasion would be unjustified.

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

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