An item on RNZ’s Midday Report covering reports of violence against protesters at Kennedy Point Marina included interviews with a protester, and the developer of the site. The Authority has not upheld a complaint the item breached the balance and fairness standards. The Authority found the item presented a reasonable range of perspectives and developer Kitt Littlejohn was given a fair and reasonable opportunity to present his point of view. Given the level of public interest in the item, Mr Littlejohn, in his position, could reasonably expect the media’s scrutiny and the programme was unlikely to leave listeners with an unduly negative impression of him.
Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness
The Authority has not upheld a complaint alleging an item on Midday Report lacked balance. The item reported on findings from the Chief Ombudsman regarding ‘undignified and barren’ conditions in two prisons. It was clear the item was coming from a particular perspective. The continuing media coverage of prison conditions means the period of current interest is ongoing, and audiences would not have been misinformed by the broadcast.
Not Upheld: Balance
The Authority has not upheld a complaint from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) about an interview with Nicky Hager discussing the results of an Australian enquiry into its Defence Force and the implications for the NZDF. The Authority noted the high public interest in the broadcast and found that as it was clearly coming from Mr Hager’s perspective and other news bulletins signalled other views, the balance standard was not breached. The broadcast was not unfair to the NZDF. It is a government agency that can reasonably expect public scrutiny. In addition, comment from the Defence Minister was sought and included in later news bulletins.
Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a Midday Report item regarding a boost in Kiwisaver funds breached the accuracy and fairness standards. The complainant argued the item was misleading, for not disclosing that the organisation which produced the relevant survey findings does not survey all Kiwisaver providers, and was unfair to Kiwisaver providers who were not surveyed. The Authority found the item would not have misled listeners and that the fairness standard did not apply.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
An item on RNZ’s Midday Report reported ‘Scientists warn polar bears may become extinct by the end of the century because of climate change.’ The complainant alleged climate change was not threatening polar bears as reported in the item. The Authority found the statements in the item were clearly framed as predictions, and attributed as being the scientists’ view. Therefore, they were analysis and opinion (rather than statements of fact) and the accuracy standard did not apply. 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
An item on RNZ’s Midday Report bulletin reported on increases in the price of butter and dairy products, and the impact of this on small food businesses in particular. The item included the statement: ‘The demand for butter has soared worldwide since scientists debunked research linking animal fats with heart disease.’ The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this statement breached the balance and accuracy standards. The Authority found that, as the statement was peripheral to the focus of the item, the broadcaster was not required in the interests of balance to present alternate viewpoints on the statement, and the statement was unlikely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the item as a whole.
Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy
Midday Report. Stock market news provided investment banking firm’s phone number. Social responsibility, balance, accuracy, fairness, good taste and decency. Not upheld.
Midday Report. References to Bush administration and comments from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Iraq allegedly distorted. Upheld (accuracy). No order.
Midday Report and Checkpoint. Programmes dealt with release by the Minister of Health of a report which examined the effects of marijuana/cannabis use, and government's announcement of what it intended to do. Complaint about the comments from Life Education Trust members. Not upheld (balance).