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Decisions
Lerner and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2021-091 (13 October 2021)
2021-091

A segment on Magic Afternoons with Leah Panapa and Danny Watson on 1 July 2021 touched on the topic of Jewish people in Hollywood and included the comment ‘Hollywood was run by Jewish people.’ The broadcaster conceded the comments made by the hosts ‘reflected a trope evoking prejudicial ideas’ and upheld a complaint under the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority found the comments had the potential to affirm, further embed and spread negative stereotypes, but in the circumstances considered the action taken by the broadcaster was sufficient to address the breach.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration (Action Taken)

Decisions
Kehoe and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-084 (22 September 2021)
2021-084

The Authority has not upheld a complaint alleging a segment on Police Ten 7 breached the discrimination and denigration standard. A man called a woman who had called the police a ‘nosey motherf***ing white c***’. The Authority found in the context of the long-running series, and the particular programme, this comment did not reach the threshold for a finding that it encouraged discrimination or denigration in breach of the standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Thwaites and Radio New Zealand Limited - 2021-078 (22 September 2021)
2021-078

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the discrimination and denigration and fairness standards about an item on Morning Report. The Authority did not consider referencing the iwi affiliation of the subjects featured in the piece discriminated against or denigrated other New Zealanders stuck in India due to COVID-19 who are not tangata whenua. It also found the complaint did not identify a particular individual or organisation that was alleged to have been treated unfairly in the broadcast, so the fairness standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration and Fairness

Decisions
Beaumont Bell and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-050 (15 September 2021)
2021-050

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the introduction for a piece broadcast on RNZ Concert: ‘Being a coloured man wasn’t an advantage to 19th century English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. But he did, fortunately, have some influential supporters… so his music did get heard.’ The complaint was that the description of the composer as ‘coloured’ perpetuated racism. The Authority acknowledged the complainant’s concerns and the changing nature of language over time. In this case, it found the description of the composer, in the context of the broadcast, did not encourage discrimination or denigration and was unlikely to cause offence at a level justifying restriction of the right to freedom of expression.  

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Olsen and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-055 (15 September 2021)
2021-055

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about an episode of New Zealand Today. The complaint was that an interviewee was treated unfairly, and the segment discriminated against and denigrated the elderly. Noting that comments concerning the interviewee were based on his individual actions and views (rather than his status as ‘elderly’) and that the discrimination and denigration standard is not intended to prevent the broadcast of genuine expressions of comment, legitimate humour or satire, the Authority found no breach of that standard. In the context, the Authority also found the interviewee was not treated unfairly.

Not Upheld: Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Soh and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-075 (15 September 2021)
2021-075

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a statement on Coast FM news, ‘A herd of international students is about to stampede into New Zealand’, breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority found ‘international students’ did not amount to a section of the community under the standard. In any event, the statement would not have reached the threshold required for finding a breach. There were issues with the retention of the broadcast by NZME, and the Authority noted this was a serious procedural concern.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Harter and Discovery NZ Limited - 2021-049 (6 September 2021)
2021-049

The Authority declined to determine a complaint about a promo of The Project as the complainant is responsible for identifying the programme the subject of his complaint1 and his complaint did not appear to relate to the identified broadcast content.

Declined to determine: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Spring and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-072 (6 September 2021)
2021-072

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint regarding a news item which included a quote from Liz Cheney calling Donald Trump’s claims that he had won the 2020 US Election ‘dangerous lies’. The complainant was concerned about RNZ referring to some politicians as liars but not others. The Authority found the content of the complaint did not relate to the substance of the broadcast, and was not capable of being properly determined by a complaints procedure.

Declined to Determine: Programme Information, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989)

Decisions
Millar and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-064 (24 August 2021)
2021-064

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a comment referring to a sex act during an episode of New Zealand Today, which the host and interviewee both laughed at. The programme was classified 16-LSC, preceded by a full-screen warning and screened at 9pm. Given audience expectations for the programme, the classification, the warning and the scheduling, the Authority found the comment would not cause widespread undue offence and audiences were able to make their own viewing choices. The remaining standards either did not apply or were not breached.

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

Decisions
Van Peursem & Fox and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-056 (24 August 2021)
2021-056

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about an item on The Project. A presenter commented ‘I think happily we don’t have many Americans in New Zealand so we probably won’t end up in that situation’, in response to a question from another presenter, about whether New Zealanders would start demanding a right to bear arms as in the United States, in light of a recent knife attack. The complainants alleged these comments were discriminatory against Americans, and breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority acknowledged the comments had the potential to cause offence, but found they did not meet the high threshold required to breach the standard and justify restricting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Connolly and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-037 (11 August 2021)
2021-037

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a comment made by the Hon. Debbie Ngarewa-Packer about the BMI test being ‘crafted by white supremacists’ breached the discrimination and denigration standard. Ms Ngarewa-Packer’s comment was a genuine expression of her opinion on a matter of public interest – possible discrimination in access to public funding for IVF treatment. The standard, which has a high threshold, was not intended to prevent the broadcast of such opinions, the Authority found.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Foster and RDU 98.5FM Limited - 2021-035 (11 August 2021)
2021-035

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint that a hip hop song contained racial slurs (including the n-word). The Authority noted the broadcaster apologised to the complainant for the offence caused and removed the song from its playlist. The Authority considered this action was sufficient and, in all the circumstances, it was not necessary to determine the complaint.

Declined to Determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989, in all the circumstances): Good Taste and Decency, Programme Information, Children’s Interests, Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration, Privacy

Decisions
McAulay and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2021-015 (11 August 2021)
2021-015

While filling in on Magic Talk’s Magic Mornings, John Banks discussed former CEO Grainne Moss’s departure from Oranga Tamariki. One talkback caller made comments which were endorsed by Mr Banks. MediaWorks found these were denigrating towards Māori and breached the good taste and decency and discrimination and denigration standards. The Authority upheld a complaint that the action taken by MediaWorks did not sufficiently remedy the harm caused by the breaches. It found the comments were foreseeable in the broadcast environment MediaWorks had created.

Upheld: Good Taste and Decency (Action Taken), Discrimination and Denigration (Action Taken)

Orders: Section 13(1)(a) – broadcast statement; Section 16(4) – $3,000 costs to the Crown

Decisions
Media Matters in NZ and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-043 (11 August 2021)
2021-043

In an item about road rage on Seven Sharp, the presenters were discussing slow drivers when Jeremy Wells made the comments ‘grandpa’ and ‘always a grandpa’. Media Matters in NZ complained the comment breached the discrimination and denigration and accuracy standards. The Authority declined to determine the complaint on the basis it was trivial or frivolous.

Declined to determine: Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy

Decisions
Donald and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-033 (2 August 2021)
2021-033

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Seven Sharp in which Hilary Barry made comments about the safety of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine and about ‘anti-vaxxers’, including suggesting those who do not want to be vaccinated could ‘jump on a ferry and go to the Auckland Islands for a few years, and then when we’ve got rid of COVID-19…come back’. The complaint alleged these comments breached the good taste and decency, discrimination and denigration, balance, accuracy and fairness standards, by suggesting the safety of the vaccine was almost without question, and denigrating those with a different view. The Authority found Ms Barry’s comments were unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress or undermine widely shared community standards. It found the broadcast did not address a controversial issue so the balance standard did not apply. The fairness, discrimination and denigration and accuracy standards also did not apply or were not breached.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Balance, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy

Decisions
Mosen and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-044 (2 August 2021)
2021-044

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Morning Report including an interview between reporter Phil Pennington and Minister for the Environment Hon David Parker, regarding toxic waste contamination at Tiwai Point. During the interview Mr Parker described himself as being ‘blind’ on the state of contamination at Tiwai Point. In the introduction to the interview, presenter Susie Ferguson referred to this comment, and in the course of examining Mr Parker’s awareness of the issue Mr Pennington queried it twice. The complainant submitted the use of ‘blind’ in this way denigrated people who are blind as it equated blindness with ignorance. The Authority found the use of ‘blind’ in this context did not meet the high threshold required to find a breach of the discrimination and denigration standard.  

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Bell & Wolters and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-036 (21 July 2021)
2021-036

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about Mike Hosking’s statement on Mike Hosking Breakfast that the Duchess of Sussex was a ‘shallow, self-absorbed, attention-seeking, woke bandwagon-riding hussy’. The Authority found it was not likely to cause widespread, undue offence in the context. Although the discrimination and denigration standard applied, as the word ‘hussy’ may refer to and reflect upon women as a section of society, the comments did not meet the threshold justifying regulatory intervention.

Not upheld: Good taste and decency, discrimination and denigration

Decisions
Kane and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-031 (21 July 2021)
2021-031

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about comments made by Jack Tame during his morning show including the statement ‘Māori don’t just deserve special treatment, but are contractually guaranteed a form of special treatment under the Treaty’. The Authority found, in context, the comment amounted to analysis to which the accuracy standard does not apply. The comment was not the focus of the discussion, and an opinion-based segment such as this is not required to provide alternate perspectives under the balance standard. The remaining standards did not apply.

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

Decisions
Oluwole and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-023 (21 July 2021)
2021-023

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about comments made by a caller on Newstalk ZB’s Tim Roxborogh show. The caller was explaining why he ‘fell out of love with Cuba’ and expressing disbelief that a place so close to the United States could be characterised by what he described as ‘poverty and the sheer nothingness of everything’, also saying, ‘you’re not in Africa… you are 90 miles from America’. The complaint was that this remark equated the entire African continent and its people with poverty, was discriminatory, and was not challenged by the host. The Authority acknowledged the complainant’s concerns, but found the passing reference by a caller did not reach the high threshold for a breach of the discrimination and denigration standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Cant and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-030 (15 July 2021)
2021-030

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a 1 News item looking at the housing crisis on Waiheke Island. One affected resident who was interviewed said he ‘[felt] like a gypsy wandering around, living out of suitcases and boxes’. The complaint was that the use of the word ‘gypsy’ was derogatory and evokes prejudicial biases towards the Roma community. While the Authority has previously acknowledged the potential harm in the use of the word, in this particular context it did not outweigh the interviewee’s right to express himself and describe his experience. This expression and the item as a whole carried high value and public interest and did not warrant regulatory intervention or restricting the important right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

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