An item on Newshub reported on the rescue of an American woman who had been held captive as a sex slave by a serial killer for two months in South Carolina. The item featured newly-released footage of the woman’s rescue, and showed her chained to the wall of a shipping container by her throat. The item also featured footage of the woman’s appearance on the American talk show, Dr Phil, during which she discussed her kidnapping. The item was preceded by the following verbal audience advisory: ‘A warning: some viewers may find our next story disturbing’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this audience advisory was inadequate given the nature of the footage, which was violent, inappropriate for children and further breached the featured woman’s privacy. The Authority found, taking into account contextual factors such as Newshub’s target audience and audience expectations of news programmes generally, that the audience advisory was adequate for the content shown. A level of maturity was required to understand the full implications of the footage, and therefore the item would not have unduly disturbed child viewers. Finally, the broadcast did not result in a breach of the woman’s privacy, given the information was available in the public domain at the time of broadcast and no private information was therefore disclosed.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence, Privacy
Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai (Say… You’re in Love), a Bollywood romantic thriller film, was broadcast on free-to-air television channel APNA TV between 3pm and 6pm. The film featured action scenes containing violence. The Authority upheld a complaint that the film breached a number of broadcasting standards. The film was broadcast unclassified and with an incorrect programme description, which meant audiences were unable to make an informed viewing choice and were unable to regulate their own, and their children’s, viewing behaviour. The film’s inclusion of violent imagery such as beatings, shoot-outs, murder and dead bodies, and the visual depiction of these acts occurring onscreen, warranted an AO classification and later time of broadcast on free-to-air television. The film’s content would have been outside audience expectations of the programme, and child viewers, who were likely to be watching at the time of broadcast, were unable to be protected from material that had the potential to adversely affect them. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the law and order standard.
Upheld: Programme Information, Children’s Interests, Good Taste and Decency, Violence; Not Upheld: Law and Order
Orders: Section 13(1)(a) broadcast statement; section 16(4) costs to the Crown $1,500
An item on Checkpoint reported on the final stages of a court case in Auckland, known as the ‘Dome Valley’ kidnapping, in which a young woman was kidnapped, beaten, sexually violated and left to die by a group of her former friends. The reporter outlined the events of the kidnapping and the item featured segments of the victim giving evidence (with her voice disguised) via audio-visual link from another room in the closed court. The reporter and the victim outlined her assault and injuries in some detail. No audience advisory was broadcast. The Authority found that, while this item had high value in terms of the right to freedom of expression, and was in the public interest, a brief audience advisory should have been broadcast to enable listeners to decide if they wished to listen to the detailed, violent content included in the item. While the Authority supported the broadcast of an item that gave voice to the victim, the segment contained descriptions and details that were disturbing in nature and potentially upsetting for listeners, particularly those who had suffered similarly and any children who may have been listening. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the law and order standard.
Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence
Not Upheld: Law and Order
A short news item during Breakfast reported that the body of a German hostage, who had been beheaded by militants in the Philippines, had been recovered. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the item depicted a ‘severed head’, which was offensive and unacceptable to broadcast, especially during a time when children were likely to be watching television. In the context of a very brief news report, the item would not have exceeded audience expectations and would not have unduly offended or disturbed viewers. The content shown was not graphic or at a level which required a warning to be given, and the story carried public interest. While the news item was broadcast at a time when children were likely to be watching television, Breakfast is an unclassified morning news and current affairs programme, it is not targeted at child viewers and there is an expectation of adult supervision during this type of programming.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence
An item on Checkpoint discussed the return of a child after she went missing off the coast of New Zealand with her father. Extensive media coverage reported that the pair had sailed to Australia on a catamaran and that the family was involved in a custody dispute, with proceedings pending under the Care of Children Act 2004. The item aired after the child had been located and featured an interview with the child’s mother, who discussed her fears for her daughter’s safety, and their reunion. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this item breached the child’s privacy and treated her unfairly. The information discussed during the interview was in the public domain at the time of broadcast, and the topic was treated sensitively and respectfully by the interviewer. There was also an element of public interest in the child’s welfare and her being found safe. A number of other broadcasting standards raised by the complainant were not applicable or not breached in the context of the broadcast.
Not Upheld: Privacy, Fairness, Balance, Good Taste and Decency, Programme Information, Children’s Interests, Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy
The music videos for ‘Starboy’ by The Weeknd and ‘Sexual’ by Neiked were screened between 9pm and 10pm on MTV’s Top 20 Hits. The introduction to the music video for ‘Starboy’ featured singer The Weeknd being suffocated to death with a plastic bag. The music video for ‘Sexual’ featured a variety of animated sexual imagery, including animals having sex and a girl lifting her shirt to expose her breasts. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that these videos were offensive and disturbing. It recognised that the content was challenging and understood the complainant’s concerns regarding the graphic content of such music videos and their impact on young audiences. However, the videos were classified 16C and broadcast between 9pm and 10pm on a Sunday evening, and the programme featured an audience advisory for content. Taking into account these contextual factors, the Authority found that the broadcaster took effective steps to inform viewers of the programme’s likely content, so they could make an informed viewing choice. Given the classification of the broadcast, the violent and sexual content would not be outside audience expectations for the music videos featured.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence
A promo for the latest season of 7 Days showed comedians featured on the programme preparing the show’s host for the ‘potentially hostile environment’, by heckling and pelting him with objects. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this promo trivialised the issue of bullying. The promo was a parody sketch of the type of heckling typically made by contestants during an episode of 7 Days, and common to live comedy programmes of this genre. It sought to recreate this live comedy environment in a humorous, satirical and highly exaggerated way, and in this context, the promo did not condone, encourage or trivialise bullying behaviour.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence, Discrimination and Denigration
An item on Seven Sharp discussed a five-week, outdoor ‘life skills’ camp held for high school students on Great Barrier Island. Footage of a sheep being restrained to be killed for food, the sheep’s dead body and blood, and the gutting of the sheep was shown. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the killing of the sheep was ‘brutal’ and unacceptable for broadcast. While the footage was graphic and would not have appealed to all viewers, it was adequately signposted during the item, which enabled viewers to exercise discretion and decide whether to continue watching. The actual killing of the sheep was not shown, and the footage appeared to show standard, accepted practices of killing animals for food in New Zealand. In the context of an unclassified current affairs programme screened during PGR time and aimed at adults, the footage did not reach the threshold for finding a breach of standards.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence
During an episode of The Block NZ: Girls Vs Boys, contestants ‘Dyls’ and ‘Dylz’ competed in an ongoing ‘Odd Jobs Challenge’, winning $10,000. However, the team was penalised $5,000 for using power tools after hours. When the show’s host, Mark Richardson, and its resident builder and site foreman, informed the team about the penalty, Dyls swore profusely (with swear words censored), knocked a hard hat off a table and knocked down a large piece of plywood. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this segment breached the violence standard. While Dyls lost his temper and acted childishly, his behaviour did not amount to ‘violence’ as envisaged by the standard. Any coarse language was censored and Dyls was not physically violent or threatening toward any member of the show during the incident.
Not Upheld: Violence
An episode of the British cartoon, Grizzly Tales, which was classified G (General), featured a young girl called Victoria Spew who threw tantrums until she vomited to get her way. At the end of the episode, Victoria was sucked into the vacuum cleaner her mother had bought to clean up after her. The cartoon showed Victoria’s teeth being pulled from her gums, and organs and body parts falling into the bag. The episode ended with Victoria’s body parts trapped in the vacuum cleaner. The Authority upheld a complaint that this episode of Grizzly Tales was unsuitable for young children. The programme was classified G and so was required to be suitable for all children under the age of 14. While this episode may have appealed to older children, the Authority did not consider it was appropriate for preschool children, who were likely to be watching unsupervised early in the morning. The Authority did not make an order.
Upheld: Children’s Interests, Violence, Good Taste and Decency
The E! channel featured an ‘Entertainment Special’ entitled The Real 50 Shades of Grey about couples who engage in BDSM (Bondage/ Discipline/ Dominance/ Submission/ Sadism/ Masochism). The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the programme encouraged sexual violence and normalised BDSM practice. The content was discussed only in fairly innocuous terms and no explicitly sexual or violent material was shown. However, the Authority upheld the complaint that the programme should have included warning labels for sexual and other potentially offensive content, as the subject matter had the potential to offend viewers.
Upheld: Content Classification, Warning and Filtering
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), featuring cage fighting, was broadcast on SKY Sport. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the sport was too violent and inappropriate for broadcast at 5pm. This was a legitimate sport, broadcast on a niche channel dedicated to sport, and was appropriately classified M, indicating it was suitable for mature audiences aged 16 and over. Filtering technology allowed parents to block the content if they wished.
Not Upheld: Children, Violence, Law and Order
The Soviet Story. Documentary about the Soviet regime contained graphic and violent details and images. Upheld (violence). Not upheld (children). No order.
SKY Sport 1. Broadcast of rugby test match included footage of player head-butting another player which was repeated three times. Not upheld (violence).
Commando. Film screened at 1.15pm showed violence unsuitable for children. Upheld (children, violence). No order.
Basic Instinct. Film contained a violent sex scene and a scene showing explicit sex with bondage ending with murder. Upheld (good taste and decency): only the time the opening sequence was screened (10.15pm on 20 March and 8.30pm on 31 March). Order (publication of a brief summary of decision).