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Decisions
Judge and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-074 (22 September 2021)
2021-074

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a promo which contained a joke that New Zealand’s duck hunting season had been off to a bad start because ‘someone accidentally shot Trevor Mallard’. Viewers would have understood the comment as a joke, and it was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or encourage illegal activity, nor did it contain unduly disturbing violent content.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence, Law and Order

Decisions
O’Halloran and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-063 (15 September 2021)
2021-063

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint about the joking and flirtatious interactions between two males on a Breakfast programme segment. The Authority considered the complaint related to matters of personal preference and was not an appropriate use of its time and resources.

Declined to Determine: Good Taste and Decency (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989)

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
Cochran and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-066 (15 September 2021)
2021-066

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a promo for Checkpoint, broadcast after the 8am news on 11 May 2021, which included soundbites, showcasing the previous day’s news, concerning a supermarket stabbing in Dunedin. The complaint alleged the promo sensationalised news that was no longer current, suggesting another stabbing had occurred, and unnecessarily repeated scenes of violence when affected families were still suffering and children were likely to be listening. In its context, the Authority found the promo content was not likely to cause widespread undue offence or distress and did not breach the children’s interests standard. The programme information, violence and balance standards either did not apply or were not breached.

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

Decisions
Johnston and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-076 (15 September 2021)
2021-076

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

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that action taken by NZME was insufficient, after it upheld a complaint about language used in an interview on The Nutters Club. The interviewee told his story of overcoming drug addiction and offending, and now working to help others do the same. After saying, ‘Excuse all my language I use, too, it will get a little bit worse, it’s just how it is when you remember’, the interviewee used the words ‘fuck’, ‘shit’, and ‘arse’ (and variations of these) repeatedly. The Authority determined it would not have found a breach of the standards in the first instance, in the context of the broadcast. In particular: the interview carried high value in terms of the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and the narration of an important story about hope, transformation, and community-building, it was broadcast late at night, and the interviewee signposted he would use coarse language, giving listeners an opportunity to decide whether to continue listening. The Authority noted the action taken in response to the language and complaint was significant, which reflected the broadcaster’s sensitivity to the needs and interests of its listeners.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency (Action Taken), Programme Information (Action Taken)

Decisions
Stark and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-080 (15 September 2021)
2021-080

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint about the use of the phrase ‘Jesus Christ’ by an English football fan expressing excitement during a news item covering England’s win against Denmark in the UEFA European Football Championship semi-finals. The Authority has found on numerous occasions the use of ‘Jesus Christ’ or similar terms as an exclamation does not amount to a breach of standards.

Declined to Determine: Good Taste and Decency (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989)

Decisions
Francis and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-045 (6 September 2021)
2021-045

The Authority did not uphold a complaint under the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards about an item on 1 News reporting live from Wellington amid protests against increasing rates of sexual violence, which showed a protest sign in the background reading ‘Don’t fuckin’ touch me’. Although some viewers may have been surprised by this, the Authority found overall the potential harm did not outweigh freedom of expression. The Authority took into account: the high public interest in the item; the sign was partially obscured for half of the item; the word complained about was not spoken; and the broadcaster had limited editorial control over the public’s actions during a live cross to the reporter.

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

Decisions
Hall and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-051 (6 September 2021)
2021-051

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about a segment on 7 Days which made a joke referring to a picture of Prince Philip, shortly after his death. The Authority found the segment did not contain any material outside of what viewers could reasonably expect from the programme (as a long-running comedy show based on finding comedic elements in the news of the week, audiences are well-familiar with its format and style of content and humour), and did not cause any harm justifying the restriction of freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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
Stewart and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-062 (6 September 2021)
2021-062

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint about the introduction to a news item on New Zealand Rugby which used the terms ‘blasted’ and ‘bombshell’ immediately after an item reporting on violence in Gaza. The Authority considered that the complaint raised issues which were editorial decisions not properly addressed by broadcasting standards, so should not be determined by the Authority.

Declined to Determine: Good Taste and Decency (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act)

Decisions
Evans and Campus Radio bFM Limited - 2021-039 (24 August 2021)
2021-039

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

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a segment on 95bFM breached the good taste and decency standard. The segment included a broadcaster publicity notice, about the broadcasting standards complaints process, followed by a list of swear words, ‘fuck-knuckles, cock and piss, balls’. The complainant acknowledged this was intended to be ‘irreverently humorous’, but said it ‘conjured unpleasant images of a sexual nature’ in breach of the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found, in the context, and particularly in light of 95bFM’s target and intended audience and its expectations of the radio station, the segment was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress or undermine widely shared community standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

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
Preston and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-011 (11 August 2021)
2021-011

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

The Authority has upheld a complaint about the classification and scheduling of an episode of SAS Australia which was classified ‘M’ and screened at 7.30pm. The episode featured aggression, potentially distressing psychological elements and frequent coarse language (more than 35 instances or variations of ‘fuck’). The Authority found this content warranted a higher classification of ‘16’ rather than ‘M’, a stronger warning for frequent language and a later time of broadcast outside of children’s normally accepted viewing times (after 8.30pm). It therefore upheld the complaint under the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards, as viewers were not given sufficient reliable information to make an informed viewing choice or exercise discretion.

Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests

Not Upheld: Violence

No order

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
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
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
Higgins and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-22 (21 July 2021)
2021-022

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that use of the phrase ‘how the hell’ in an item on Breakfast breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found the use of the word would not have caused widespread undue offence or distress or undermined widely shared community values.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Maharey and Television New Zealand Limited - 2021-040 (21 July 2021)
2021-040

The Authority has not upheld a complaint a Sunday feature about sexually explicit social media sites breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. In the context, particularly noting the public interest value of the feature, audience expectations, and nature of the programme, the Authority considered the broadcast was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence, or undermine widely shared community standards. The Authority found the content did not go beyond what the audience could reasonably expect of the programme, and the introduction was sufficient to signpost the type of content to be expected.

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

Decisions
Maysmor and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-048 (21 July 2021)
2021-048

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about multiple images of needles and vaccinations being performed shown in two Newshub Live at 6pm items reporting on COVID-19. The Authority found the images were unlikely to cause widespread undue offence. There is a high public interest and value in news reporting about the vaccination programme. In the context of a news item, the images would not adversely affect child viewers. The balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Good taste and decency, Children’s interests, Balance

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