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Gibson and SKY Network Television Ltd - 2005-047

Complaint under section 8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989Parliamentary Question Time – showed Deputy Prime Minister at times when he was not answering or asking questions – allegedly unbalancedFindingsStandard S6 (balance) – programme did not approach the proceedings from any particular perspective – balance not required – not upheldThis headnote does not form part of the decision. Broadcast[1] Coverage of Parliamentary Question Time was broadcast on Sky News at 2pm on 7 April 2005. Complaint[2] Michael Gibson complained that the broadcast was unbalanced because it focused on the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Michael Cullen, at times when he was not asking or answering questions. The coverage had shown Dr Cullen “grinning and derisively showing a dismissive attitude towards the Opposition”, he said. [3] Mr Gibson argued that the broadcaster had broken the same rules which had caused TV3 to be banned from filming in Parliament recently....

Dobson and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2022-118 (8 February 2023)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint two items on 1 News reporting on a political poll and interviewing several New Zealanders on the street breached multiple broadcasting standards. The complainant alleged the proportion of people interviewed was not an accurate or balanced representation of the political mood of the country, which was unfair to political parties, and certain comments constituted discrimination and denigration, or were inaccurate or unfair. The Authority held it was not a breach of broadcasting standards to feature ‘vox-pop’ interviews in proportions that do not match current political polling, and the standards either did not apply or were not breached in relation to other issues raised by the complainant concerning the broadcast. Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness...

Naughton and Mainland Television Limited & Daystar Television - 2021-103 (16 February 2022)

An episode of Marcus and Joni breached the accuracy standard as it contained inaccurate and misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines and their safety. It also promoted conspiracies and advocated for ineffective remedies. The Authority found the broadcaster had not made reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of the programme, particularly as the guests were not recognised experts in the subjects discussed. The balance and programme information standards did not apply. Upheld: Accuracy Not Upheld: Balance, Programme Information Orders: Daystar: Section 13(1)(a) – broadcast statement; Section 16(4) – $500 costs to the Crown; Mainland: Section 16(4) - $500 costs to the Crown...

Robertson and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-038 (22 August 2016)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on ONE News Tonight reported on a pro-rail rally in Whangarei, which occurred in reaction to KiwiRail’s decision to discontinue part of the North Rail Link. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item was unbalanced, inaccurate and unfair. The item included a variety of significant viewpoints on KiwiRail’s decision, and it did not imply that the Government’s or KiwiRail’s views on the issue were more valid than other views. In the context of a brief news report, the pro-rail rally was accurately conveyed, and no individual or organisation was identified by the complainant as being treated unfairly. Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, FairnessIntroduction[1] An item on ONE News Tonight reported on a pro-rail rally in Whangarei, which occurred in reaction to KiwiRail’s decision to discontinue part of the North Rail Link....

Sanders and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-021 (30 June 2017)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on 1 News reported on Prime Minister Bill English’s experience during Waitangi Day, including a phone call with the President of the United States of America, President Trump. During an introduction to the item, the newsreader referred to President Trump’s ‘anti-Muslim travel ban’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the newsreader’s statement was inaccurate and unbalanced. The focus of this item was not the precise terms of Executive Order 13679 or its implications, but rather Bill English’s experiences on his first Waitangi Day as Prime Minister, during which his phone discussion with President Trump took place. In this context, the newsreader’s shorthand description of the Order was acceptable. The Authority pointed out, however, that broadcasters should take care when adopting commonly used shorthand terms, as this may not always be sufficient to meet standards of accuracy....

Wyn-Harris and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-047 (4 September 2017)

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, such as the impact of dairy farming on New Zealand waterways, abuse of bobby calves and financial struggles....

Cowan and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-058 (21 September 2017)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on Newshub reported on the Government’s upcoming review of KiwiRail’s operational and funding models. The item featured interviews with Transport Minister, Simon Bridges, NZ First leader, Winston Peters, and Prime Minister Bill English. The reporter commented that KiwiRail had been a ‘black hole’ for tax payers and ‘a giant problem for this Government’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item was unbalanced and unfair to KiwiRail. Given the nature of the item, which was a straightforward news report about the Government’s proposed review, viewers would not have expected to be provided with information about the historic benefits of rail or the history of KiwiRail. The Authority also found that, although the reporter’s use of language could be considered critical, the item did not result in KiwiRail being treated unfairly....

Trident Systems Ltd and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-044 (27 October 2017)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An episode of the radio documentary series, Insight, titled ‘Will cameras end commercial fish dumping’, discussed the issue of whether the quota management system (QMS) was contributing to illegal fish dumping practices in the commercial fishing industry and whether camera monitoring could be used to improve this issue. The episode featured an interview with Dr Russel Norman, the Executive Director of Greenpeace NZ, who described a camera monitoring trial run by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and undertaken by Trident Systems (Trident) and an independent research company, Archipelago. Dr Norman said that, during the trial, Archipelago found ‘lots of illegal behaviour, dumping, killing of Hector’s dolphins’, while Trident ‘found nothing’. Dr Norman then suggested that MPI awarded a contract to Trident for filming of a commercial fishery because of these results....

Johnson and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-055 (18 December 2017)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An episode of I Am Innocent focused on the story of Y, a science teacher, who was accused and charged with indecently assaulting a female student (‘X’) in 2012. The charges against Y were withdrawn around August-September 2013. The episode featured interviews with Y and others, all of whom spoke supportively about him. Ms Johnson complained that the broadcast breached broadcasting standards, including that comments made during the programme about X and her mother resulted in their unfair treatment. The Authority upheld this aspect of Ms Johnson’s complaint, finding that the programme created a negative impression of X and her mother....

Judge and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-078 (18 December 2017)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ] A segment on Seven Sharp featured an interview between Mike Hosking and Jacinda Ardern on the day Ms Ardern became leader of the Labour Party. Mr Hosking questioned Ms Ardern about the state of the Labour Party and her leadership credentials, and also commented on what he believed to be the ‘chaotic’ state of the Labour Party and its chances of winning the 2017 General Election. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the segment was unbalanced and inaccurate, finding that the broadcaster provided sufficient balance by allowing Ms Ardern a reasonable amount of time to answer the interview questions. The Authority also noted the significant amount of coverage the leadership change received during the period of current interest....

Burrows and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-103 (9 March 2018)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]During an interview on Breakfast, presenter Hilary Barry and Hon Julie Anne Genter, Minister for Women, discussed the gender pay gap in New Zealand, the Minister’s views on possible causes of the pay gap, and what the Government intended to do to close the gap in the public and private sectors. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the discussion was unbalanced because it did not present alternative perspectives on the existence of the gender pay gap, or its causes. The Authority did not consider the item amounted to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance, noting there is evidence available that the gender pay gap exists, and the item did not purport to be an in-depth examination of the causes....

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

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....

Evans and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2018-015 (21 May 2018)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on 1 News reported on the Government’s response to protests about seismic surveying, or ‘blasting’, in New Zealand waters. The item featured an interview with a representative of Greenpeace, who said that the Government could act now to stop seismic blasting, as the practice was harmful and could ‘interfere with [whales’ and dolphins’] communication and breeding… deafen them… and separate calves from their mothers’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this item was inaccurate and unbalanced because it presented Greenpeace’s views as fact....

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

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....

Hummelstad and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-077 (14 November 2018)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]A complaint about a Newshub item in which the presenter commented, ‘And I thought the only reason we watch Aussie Rules [AFL] was for the short shorts’, has not been upheld by the Authority. The Authority found that the comment, while inappropriate, did not reach the threshold to be considered a serious violation of community norms of good taste and decency. The Authority acknowledged the importance of contextual factors in considering whether the standards have been breached, including the nature of Newshub as an unclassified news programme and audience expectations of the broadcast. The Authority recognised that the statement was not made with malice or nastiness and found the comment did not breach the discrimination and denigration, balance or fairness standards....

Day & Moss and NZME Radio Ltd - 2018-090 (2 April 2019)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]Two complaints about Heather du Plessis-Allan’s use of the term ‘leeches’ to describe the Pacific Islands during Wellington Mornings with Heather du Plessis-Allan were upheld, under both the good taste and decency and discrimination and denigration standards. The Authority recognised the important role talkback radio plays in fostering open discourse and debate in society. However, the Authority found Ms du Plessis-Allan’s comments went beyond what is acceptable in a talkback environment, considering the use of language that was inflammatory, devalued the reputation of Pasifika people within New Zealand and had the potential to cause widespread offence and distress....

Honour the Maunga and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-049 (14 October 2020)

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the fairness, balance, and accuracy standards from environmental protest group Honour the Maunga, about a series of Radio New Zealand broadcasts on 15-19 April 2020. The items concerned the removal of the group’s unoccupied camp from Ōwairaka (Mt Albert) for allegedly breaching lockdown rules. Overall, the Authority found that the series of broadcasts was unlikely to cause undue harm to the reputation of Honour the Maunga, and was unlikely to mislead listeners. This was a series of short news items covering a developing story, which, importantly, included the complainant’s response to the key points in the reports, namely that the group had not breached lockdown rules and was otherwise entitled under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act to occupy the site....

Hurrell and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-086 (8 March 2017)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]Promos for South Park, Tosh. O and Bombshell: The Sinking of the Rainbow Warrior screened during the wildlife programme Africa’s Fishing Leopards, which was classified G. The promos contained potentially offensive language, which was censored, and verbal references to an ‘act of terror’ and ‘murder’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that it was inappropriate to broadcast promos for AO-classified programmes during G-programmes, as they contained adult themes. The Authority noted that it is acceptable to screen promos for AO programmes during G programmes, provided that the promo complies with the classification of the host programme. It found that in this case, the use of censored coarse language did not breach standards, but noted that in order to maintain a G classification, broadcasters must take care to adequately edit any AO or PGR content....

Miller and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-089 (15 December 2017)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]A segment on Newshub during the election period featured a political reporter discussing the potential factors behind the Labour Party’s drop in the Newshub election poll. During the segment the reporter stated that the National Party’s claim that Labour would increase income tax if elected was a ‘lie’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this comment was unfair and biased. The Authority emphasised that it is an important function of the media to comment critically on party policies and actions and that this type of speech has high value in terms of the right to freedom of expression, particularly during election time. Political parties should expect to be subject to robust criticism and the Authority was satisfied the political reporter’s comment did not go beyond what could be expected during the election period....

Short and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2016-040C (19 October 2016)

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]A Seven Sharp item discussed the reasons that outgoing New Plymouth Mayor Andrew Judd was not seeking re-election. These included that Mr Judd had suffered abuse and become ‘deeply unpopular’ because of his campaign to increase Māori representation on the New Plymouth District Council, in particular by proposing that a Māori ward be established on the Council. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item lacked balance and was misleading by failing to accurately present the perspective of the New Plymouth public who were opposed to Mr Judd’s proposed reforms. While it was framed primarily as a profile piece on Mr Judd, the item’s discussion of the proposed Māori ward triggered the requirement for balance....

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