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Decisions
Supreme Sikh Society, Kalgidhar Sports Club & Majinder Singh Bassi and Planet FM - 2018-040 (24 August 2018)
2018-040

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]The Authority has upheld one aspect of a complaint from three complainants about a segment of Punjabi talkback programme Panthic Vichar, broadcast on community radio station, Planet FM. During the programme, host Kuldip Singh made a number of allegations against the complainants, regarding use of grant money and cheating or ‘unjust’ behaviour at a kabaddi tournament. The Authority found that the host’s comments reflected negatively on the complainants and as such, they should have been given an opportunity to respond to the allegations. The Authority did not uphold the remaining aspects of the complaint. The Authority acknowledged the limited resources available to the broadcaster, but reminded it of its obligations under the Broadcasting Act 1989 to receive and consider formal complaints through a proper process, including where the broadcast subject to complaint is in a language other than English....

Decisions
Lobb and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-154 (20 April 2021)
2020-154

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a 1 News at Midday item about the United States presidential election lacked balance because it included clips of Joe Biden supporters and Biden’s campaign, but not Donald Trump supporters or the Trump campaign. The US election, while it could be considered a controversial issue of public importance for the purposes of the balance standard, was an issue that was widely covered by the media, including by TVNZ. Balance is not achieved by a ‘stopwatch’ meaning broadcasters are not required to give equal time to alternative viewpoints. The lack of emphasis on Trump supporters and the Trump campaign in this particular item would not have left viewers uninformed and did not breach the balance standard, given the widespread coverage available including of Mr Trump’s campaign and supporters. Not Upheld: Balance...

Decisions
Parlane and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-023 (16 June 2017)
2017-023

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]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....

Decisions
Ministry of Education and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-076 (18 April 2018)
2017-076

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]On 18 March 2017, RNZ reported on allegations made by the Board of Trustees at Salisbury School, a Nelson school for girls with complex learning needs, that the Ministry of Education (Ministry) had actively discouraged parents from enrolling children at the school so that it could be closed. On 31 March and 6 April 2017, RNZ broadcast a series of items about an alleged lack of funding, resources and support for Northland teachers struggling to cope with violent and disruptive children. The Authority upheld aspects of a complaint from the Ministry that RNZ’s coverage of these issues was unfair and unbalanced....

Decisions
Gibbs and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-043 (17 July 2017)
2017-043

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]Saturday Morning featured a 25-minute interview with the Vice President for Energy and Environment Policy at a think-tank in the United States. The interviewee discussed a range of matters to do with environmental policy, including her current concerns, initiatives put in place under the Obama administration that may be threatened by the Trump administration, and how to make climate change a relevant issue to voters. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the item was unbalanced, as it only presented the ‘progressive, liberal’ perspective on climate change. The Authority considered that, in the context of an interview focused on the professional opinions and experiences of a particular individual, listeners would not have expected the full spectrum of views on climate change to be presented....

Decisions
Cape and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-018 (21 May 2018)
2018-018

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]The first segment of The AM Show’s daily panel, featuring panel guests Dr Don Brash and Newshub reporter Wilhelmina Shrimpton, discussed Dr Brash’s views on the use of te reo Māori in New Zealand, specifically in RNZ broadcasting without translation. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this panel discussion lacked balance and was unfair to Dr Brash. The Authority found that, while the panel discussion was robust and Dr Brash’s opinion was tested by the panel, Dr Brash was given a fair and reasonable opportunity to present his point of view in the time allowed....

Decisions
Arps and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-073B (7 May 2020)
2019-073B

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a Newshub segment that discussed the potential rise of far-right ideology in New Zealand breached the balance and accuracy standards. The Authority found that the segment was balanced as it contained multiple points of view. The Authority also found that the presenter’s reference to the complainant as a ‘white supremacist’ was a statement of analysis and opinion to which the accuracy standard does not apply. Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy...

Decisions
Caughey and Leyland and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-009 (10 May 2018)
2018-009

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ] Over two evenings on 6 and 7 November 2017, 1 News explored issues of climate change in the lead up to the 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23), presided over by Fiji. During the 6 November 2017 broadcast, a segment titled ‘Rising Sea Levels’ focused on the relocation of Vunidogoloa in Fiji two kilometres inland. The ‘threat’ of ‘rising sea levels’ was revisited during an item on 7 November 2017, which focused on Kiribati purchasing higher ground in Fiji. The Authority did not uphold complaints from two complainants that these broadcasts were inaccurate and unbalanced on the basis there had been little or no rise in sea levels in Fiji or Kiribati. These items focused on Fiji’s position that it was particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, including rising sea levels....

Decisions
Chapple and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-064 (26 February 2019)
2018-064

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an episode of Sunday, which investigated gay conversion therapy in New Zealand, was unbalanced and inaccurate. The Authority found the existence of differing viewpoints was pointed to throughout the programme, with balancing comments provided by those featured and in final comments from the presenter. The broadcaster made reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of the programme, relying on authoritative medical opinion from health experts regarding current views on gay conversion therapy and the potential harm that could be caused by the practice. In making these findings, the Authority recognised the high public interest in this story and found that upholding the complaint would represent an unjustified and unreasonable limit on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression....

Decisions
Gibbs and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-156 (28 April 2021)
2020-156

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Morning Report which briefly discussed soil contamination at, and the possible repurposing of, a chemical plant site in Paritutu, New Plymouth. The complainant, an interviewee on the broadcast, argued the item misrepresented likely contamination levels by citing test results from outside of the plant site, and through a comment that the site was cleaner than that at Mapua. The Authority found the statements complained about either were not materially inaccurate, or were clearly distinguishable as opinion, to which the requirement for factual accuracy does not apply. The broadcast was unlikely to mislead listeners. The balance and fairness standards either did not apply or were not breached. Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness...

Decisions
Marshall and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-138 (25 January 2022)
2021-138

A segment of Seven Sharp on 13 October 2021 reported on the COVID-19 vaccine. The complaint was the segment breached the balance, accuracy and fairness standards as the report incorrectly stated the vaccine was safe for people that are pregnant or breastfeeding. The Authority found the relevant statements were materially accurate. In any event, it was reasonable for TVNZ to rely on Dr Nikki Turner as an authoritative source. In dismissing material relied upon by the complainant to challenge the vaccine’s safety, the Authority also cautioned against the risk of contributing to misinformation by drawing conclusions from extracts of information without an understanding of the context. The balance and fairness standards did not apply. Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness...

Decisions
Brill and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-028 (18 June 2018)
2018-028

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]Two items on 1 News reported on extreme weather events in New Zealand, with an item on 8 January 2018 focused on the release of NIWA’s 2017 Annual Report and a 12 January 2018 item reporting on clean-up efforts on the West Coast, following torrential rain and flooding. Brief references were made during these items to the impacts of climate change in New Zealand and particularly on extreme weather events. The Authority did not uphold complaints that these items were inaccurate and unbalanced because climate change was not occurring in New Zealand and the number and intensity of extreme weather events was also not increasing....

Decisions
Dewhurst and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-109 (7 May 2020)
2019-109

A complaint that an episode of The AM Show breached the balance standard was not upheld. The episode featured multiple segments that addressed various climate change related issues including interviews with a Fonterra representative about its sustainable farming practices, an interview with sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke about their marine conservation initiative ‘Live Ocean’ and a panel discussion about the recently founded Sustainable New Zealand Party. The Authority found that while climate change issues are controversial issues of public importance, none of the segments amounted to unbalanced discussions for the purposes of the standard. Not Upheld: Balance...

Decisions
Kuten and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-081 (15 December 2016)
2016-081

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on Story opened with the news that Air Chathams had recently launched a new flight route from Auckland to Whanganui, following Air New Zealand’s announcement that it would discontinue its flights to the city. The item featured a reporter who visited Whanganui and spoke with the Mayor, residents and business-owners about their experiences and the good and the bad side of living and working in Whanganui. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this item was unbalanced, inaccurate and unfairly portrayed Whanganui and its residents. The introduction to the item was a parody of a popular, long-running Lemon and Paeroa television advertisement, which most viewers would have recognised, and while some of the reporter’s comments were critical of Whanganui, these were balanced with many positive comments made by residents and the item’s presenters....

Decisions
Matthewson and NZME Radio Ltd - 2017-060 (21 September 2017)
2017-060

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]During a talkback segment on Sportstalk, the host Mark Watson criticised northern hemisphere sports media and the British and Irish Lions rugby team. The host made provocative statements about the Lions team who were at that time touring New Zealand, saying, among other things, ‘hopefully you get smashed’. The host then engaged in a heated discussion with a talkback caller about northern hemisphere rugby and rugby media. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the host’s comments undermined broadcasting standards. The comments made, while critical and provocative, did not exceed audience expectations within the robust and opinionated environment of talkback radio, and particularly on Radio Sport. The Authority noted that the free and frank expression of opinions is an important aspect of the right to freedom of expression, and is valued in our society....

Decisions
Webber and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-051 (4 September 2017)
2017-051

Chair Peter Radich declared a conflict of interest and did not participate in the Authority's determination of this complaint. Following the issue of this decision, the Authority received new information from a third party refuting certain allegations made by the complainant about, and descriptions of, the dairy farm referred to in the decision owned by 'B'. The Authority wishes to note that the descriptions of the farm owned by B used in this decision have been disputed. Summary [This summary does not form part of the decision. ] An episode of Sunday, titled ‘The Price of Milk’, followed a reporter as he visited two dairy farms in the Hauraki Plains. The reporter spent time with two farmers, A and B, to hear their perspectives on their work and the issues facing the industry....

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
Garrett and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-006 (19 April 2017)
2017-006

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]A segment on Nine to Noon discussed raising the youth justice age. The presenter interviewed a human rights lawyer, a youth worker and the director of JustSpeak. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the segment was unbalanced. While the interviewees featured all supported raising the youth justice age, the presenter referred to the existence of alternative views on a number of occasions during the item. The issue was also canvassed in detail in other media coverage during the period of current interest, therefore audiences would be aware of a variety of perspectives beyond those put forward by the interviewees....

Decisions
Shierlaw and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-042 (24 August 2018)
2018-042

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a discussion on Breakfast, about controversial comments made by Israel Folau, was in breach of the balance broadcasting standard. During the discussion, weather reporter, Matty McLean, gave his opinion on the comments, saying that he found them to be harmful. The Authority recognised that Mr Folau’s comments sparked ongoing public debate about the right to freedom of expression and harm. The discussion on Breakfast therefore amounted to discussion of a controversial issue of public importance under the standard. However, the Authority considered Mr McLean was clearly expressing his opinion on the issue and was entitled to do so, given Breakfast’s well-established programme format which includes the hosts expressing their views on current events....

Decisions
Robinson and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-133 (9 February 2022)
2021-133

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on Newshub Live at 6pm on 7 October 2021, reporting on criticism of National Party leader Hon Judith Collins in the Mood of the Boardroom survey, breached the balance and fairness standards by failing to refer to the survey’s criticism of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The Authority found the balance standard did not apply as the complaint did not concern a controversial issue of public importance. It further found the broadcast did not go beyond the level of robust scrutiny and political analysis that could reasonably be expected of the Leader of the Opposition, and therefore the fairness standard was not breached. Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness...

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