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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
Hehir and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-058 (24 August 2021)
2021-058

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News including criticism of Easter trading restrictions and of the councils imposing them, in the wake of COVID-19 and its impact on retailers. The complainant alleged the item was unbalanced on the basis it failed to include the views of the councils being criticised, and of others who supported current restrictions, such as unions and churches. The Authority found, in the context of an item discussing criticism of the status quo, and where debate about Easter trading restrictions and coverage of such debate is ongoing, viewers were unlikely to be left misinformed by the broadcast.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
Mulgan & Winkler and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-032 (2 August 2021)
2021-032

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News that discussed ‘growing calls’ for New Zealand’s right to silence laws to be urgently changed. The complaint was the item failed to present the views of the many authorities who support the status quo, or include relevant historical context, and used unduly emotive language to advance an unbalanced narrative. The Authority noted the balance standard allows for significant viewpoints to be presented over time, within the period of current interest, and does not require every programme to canvass all significant views on a particular topic. It found there was extensive coverage around the time of the broadcast that provided a range of views and information on the right to silence in cases of child abuse. It also found the broadcast approached this issue from a particular perspective and did not purport to be a balanced examination. In the context, the Authority found the broadcast did not breach the balance standard.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
Climie and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-017 (21 July 2021)
2021-017

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News that reported a third marine heatwave in four years in Auckland and Northland. It described the causes of the heatwave in terms of subtropical winds and global warming, and its consequences in terms of sea level rises and ocean acidification, and included comments from local experts. The complaint was that the broadcast misled viewers to believe the higher ocean temperatures in Northland and Auckland were due principally to climate change and the warming effects were global (when actually the heatwave was driven by a natural climate event, occurring locally). The Authority found the broadcaster made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy, including reliance on authoritative experts, and the broadcast was unlikely to mislead viewers.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

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

Decisions
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-028 (15 July 2021)
2021-028

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News reporting on COVID-19 vaccine rollouts. The Authority found, in the context of the broadcast, the statistics cited in relation to Israel’s vaccine rollout were accurate. A discussion of access to vaccines in Israel by Palestinians was not material to the item and its omission would not have misled viewers. The remaining standards did not apply to the broadcast or issues raised in the complaint.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Alexander and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-012 (29 June 2021)
2021-012

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News that discussed a controversial wall-hanging in a Puhoi Pub bearing the n-word, and included footage of the wall-hanging itself. The complainant alleged the broadcast breached the good taste and decency standard by displaying the offensive term multiple times, when the item could have discussed the issue without doing so. The Authority noted the item censored verbal reference to the term by the pub’s owner, and was preceded by a verbal warning that ‘some viewers may find details in Jenny Suo’s story distressing’. It also noted the item’s footage of the wall-hanging was part of its critical examination of the issue, the offensive term was not depicted outside that context, and the broadcast carried significant public interest in creating an active public discourse. Having regard to the relevant context and value of the item, the Authority found the broadcast was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress or undermine widely shared community values.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Hapeta and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-172 (22 June 2021)
2020-172

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News in which Darryl Leigh Thomson was described as a co-writer of the song ‘E Tū’. While the Authority agreed it was not accurate to describe Mr Thomson as having co-written the song, it found TVNZ made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Wong & Soper and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-177 (22 June 2021)
2020-177

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about an item on 1 News that reported on protests in Washington DC in opposition to the results of the United States Presidential election. The complaints were the item’s description of the Proud Boys as a ‘white supremacist’ group was inaccurate because its leader, Enrique Tarrio, is African-Cuban and it is an ‘American chauvinist’ rather than a white supremacist group. Mr Soper also complained the item’s descriptions of Joe Biden as President-Elect, before his confirmation by the Electoral College, and of voter fraud claims as unproven, were unbalanced and inaccurate because Mr Biden’s election had not been confirmed and there was substantial evidence of voter fraud. The Authority found use of the term ‘white supremacist’ was distinguishable as analysis and opinion, to which the requirement for factual accuracy does not apply. The Authority also noted: ‘President-Elect’ is an unofficial term widely used from as early as election night and all claims of voter fraud remained untested in the Courts as at the date of broadcast. The Authority found, in the context of the broadcast, these descriptions were not materially inaccurate nor likely to mislead viewers. The balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance

Decisions
Wellington Palestine Group and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-025 (22 June 2021)
2021-025

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News covering the impact of COVID-19 on attendance at Christmas celebrations around the world. The complaint was the coverage of celebrations in Bethlehem, with reference to the closure of Israel’s international airport, created the impression that Bethlehem is part of Israel. The Authority acknowledged Bethlehem is a highly contested area, but also noted the broadcast was not about the Israel-Palestine conflict. The Authority found, in the context of the broadcast, the brief segment on celebrations in Bethlehem and the simple reference to the closure of Israel’s international airport was unlikely to have misled viewers.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Connelly and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-003 (2 June 2021)
2021-003

The Authority has not upheld a complaint images included in a 1 News item regarding the Children’s Commissioner’s report on child poverty breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority did not consider ‘people in poverty’ to be a recognised section of the community for the purposes of the standard. In any event, the Authority did not consider the content of the broadcast encouraged discrimination or denigration in breach of the standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Povey and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-173 (25 May 2021)
2020-173

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that various 1 News items referring to Joe Biden as the ‘president-elect’ before confirmation by the United States Electoral College breached the balance, accuracy and fairness standards. The Authority found this was a technical distinction that would not have altered viewers’ overall understanding of the items, therefore it was not a ‘material’ point of fact for the purposes of the accuracy standard. To the extent the items touched on the outcome of the United States election, which in some circumstances may amount to a controversial issue of public importance triggering the balance standard, the Authority was satisfied the standard was not breached taking into account the perspectives acknowledged within the items as well as in a wide range of other coverage both by TVNZ and media generally. The Authority also found the items did not result in any unfairness to President Donald Trump.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Wicks and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-126 (13 May 2021)
2020-126

The Authority upheld a privacy complaint about an item on 1 News reporting on residents’ concerns about ‘boy racers’ in a particular Christchurch suburb. It featured an interview with a resident reported as being ‘too scared to be identified’. Close-up footage, including a side-on view of part of her face (unblurred), revealed her demographic, gender, the length and colour of her hair, voice, profile of her nose, clothes, watch, a distinctive ring and the side of her glasses. The Authority found these features enabled identification of the interviewee beyond family and close friends. Their disclosure would be highly offensive to an objective reasonable person in her position, given she participated on the understanding she would not be identified. The Authority was not persuaded the defence of informed consent applied to the breach of the woman’s privacy. The broadcaster maintained the interviewee was comfortable with the item broadcast (and later obtained a note from her to this effect). However, the broadcaster did not provide sufficient evidence the interviewee fully understood she would be depicted in a manner that enabled her to be identified, and gave informed consent for this prior to the broadcast.

Upheld: Privacy

No Order

Decisions
Shepherd and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-157 (20 April 2021)
2020-157

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News, which reported on support for euthanasia in the lead up to the referendum. It was based on data from the Vote Compass tool, which had been used by more than 200,000 people. The complainant argued it was inaccurate to report that most New Zealanders, or 77% of Kiwis, were supportive of euthanasia, when only 77% of an unrepresentative group of 200,000 were supportive. The Authority found the report was linked to findings from the Vote Compass tool, and its use by 200,000 people, in a clear and transparent way. It found it was legitimate and of interest to the public to extrapolate the data as it did, and the broadcast was unlikely to mislead.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Perrott and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-160 (20 April 2021)
2020-160

The Authority did not uphold an accuracy complaint about a 1 News item on the use of interlocking concrete blocks to curb coastal erosion on the West Coast. The complaint was that the item inaccurately referred to the location shown in the clip as Granity, rather than Hector, which devalues property in Granity. Given longstanding concerns about coastal erosion spanning across three towns within a small geographical area, including Granity, the Authority did not find any material inaccuracy likely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the item as a whole. 

Not Upheld: Accuracy

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
Watson and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-151 (20 April 2021)
2020-151

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News, which reported on the results of a Colmar Brunton poll concerning party support and leader popularity, in comparison to a previous poll, without presenting the margin of error. The complaint alleged the broadcaster misrepresented the significance of the change in results by excluding the margin of error. The Authority found that polling is a speculative exercise and the public understands this, and the broadcast was unlikely to mislead.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Ancel and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-112 (16 March 2021)
2020-112

A 1 News item reported on studies showing an increase in emperor penguin numbers in the Antarctic, followed by ‘a word of caution’ about the danger posed to the penguin population by climate change. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the second part of the piece, which included a forecast that the global population of emperor penguins could decrease by half by the end of this century, was based on ‘unproven science’. Considering, in particular, the subject matter, language and manner of presentation, the Authority found viewers were likely to interpret the comments and predictions as analysis or opinion to which the accuracy standard does not apply. Given the wide social acceptance of the existence and predicted impacts of climate change, the Authority did not consider the item discussed a ‘controversial issue’. Therefore the balance standard and the requirement to present alternative viewpoints did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance

Decisions
Foster and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-121 (16 March 2021)
2020-121

An item on 1 News (sourced from the BBC) reported on the impact of sea ice decline on polar bears, including a statement by the reporter, ‘At the current rate of warming, the researchers say all but a few polar bear populations will collapse before 2100.’ The complainant alleged climate change was not threatening polar bears as reported in the item. The Authority found the broadcaster was entitled to rely on internationally reputable sources in the report and had made ‘reasonable efforts’ as required by the accuracy standard. Reporting on the predicted future impact of declining sea ice on polar bear survival as shown in studies did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue, so the balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Programme Information

Decisions
PK and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-149 (16 March 2021)
2020-149

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a 1 News item reference to a New Conservative Party policy of ‘repealing gay marriage’ was inaccurate. The Authority found the statement was not inaccurate or misleading, in light of the party’s advertised marriage policy.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

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