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Decisions
Eliott and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-062 (18 November 2019)
2019-062

During an episode of Newshub, political editor Tova O’Brien used the term ‘SNAFU’ in reference to a plane the Prime Minister was supposed to be on breaking down. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the term ‘SNAFU’ was unacceptable and a breach of the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found that, taking into account relevant contextual factors, including the nature of the programme, audience expectations of Newshub and the fact that the offensive word implied was not explicitly stated in the broadcast, the use of ‘SNAFU’ did not threaten community norms of good taste and decency, or justify restricting the right to freedom of expression. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency...

Decisions
Abel and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-004 (7 May 2019)
2019-004

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a news item on Newshub Live at 6pm was insensitive and encouraged the denigration of Christians. The item covered the controversy around an Australian advertisement, which featured two Roman soldiers asking Jesus on the cross to consent to organ donation via an app. The Authority found that while the advertisement made light of the crucifixion, the news item itself was a balanced discussion of the controversy that did not contain any statements encouraging the denigration of, or discrimination against, Christians.   Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
McCaughan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-166 (25 May 2021)
2020-166

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a news item reporting on the Rt Hon Winston Peters’ likelihood of not returning to Parliament after the General Election. The item did not discuss a controversial issue, so the balance standard did not apply. It was not unfair to Mr Peters, given his position as an elected public figure and experience dealing with the media. Coverage of political issues close to Election Day is not in itself a breach of broadcasting standards. Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness...

Decisions
Pask and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-057 (18 November 2019)
2019-057

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on Newshub Live at 6pm concerning US immigration breached the good taste and decency and balance standards. The complaint was that showing the bodies of a toddler and her father who drowned while trying to enter the US was gratuitous, and that the item’s coverage of migrant detention camps and interviews with protestors outside were unbalanced as no comment was included from US authorities. The Authority found that including the images of dead bodies was justified in the public interest, and the warning preceding them was sufficient to enable viewers to exercise choice and control over their viewing, so there was no breach of good taste and decency....

Decisions
Smith and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-016 (14 July 2020)
2020-016

The Authority did not uphold a complaint under the good taste and decency standard about the use of the phrase ‘child pornography’ in a Newshub item reporting on the arrest of Sir Ron Brierley. The complaint was that the item should have instead referred to child sexual exploitation, as ‘pornography’ infers consent and normalises a terrible practice. The Authority acknowledged the complainant’s concerns about the use of appropriate terminology with regard to very serious criminal conduct against children, and noted that what is appropriate terminology is contested internationally among authorities and global agencies. The Authority also consulted the Digital Safety Team at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), which deals with issues including countering child sexual exploitation. DIA advised that it does not use the phrase ‘child pornography’ and considers the term ‘child sexual abuse material’ most accurately describes the illegal material involving children....

Decisions
McDonald and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-005 (25 May 2021)
2021-005

The Authority did not uphold an accuracy complaint about a Newshub item describing a storm in Australia as a ‘one in 100 year storm’. The statement was a technical point unlikely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the item as a whole. Not Upheld: Accuracy...

Decisions
McCaughan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-165 (25 May 2021)
2020-165

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the phrase ‘pissed off’ in the opening to a news item breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The phrase was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or cause specific harm to a child audience. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests...

Decisions
Apps and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-055 (18 November 2019)
2019-055

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a promo for The Titan Games, broadcast during Newshub Live at 6pm and containing the phrase ‘holy crap’ breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found that the phrase was unlikely to undermine or violate widely shared community norms and overall any potential for harm did not justify a restriction on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency...

Decisions
Wilson and Discovery NZ - 2021-026 (21 July 2021)
2021-026

The Authority has not upheld a complaint a news item about sex workers and escorts opening up about their work on social media breached the good taste and decency, children’s interests and programme information standards. The Authority noted the public interest in the broadcast and considered the content was within audience expectations for the news. In this context, the Authority found the item was unlikely to cause widespread offence or undermine community standards. The Authority also found the introduction to the item was sufficient to inform viewers of the nature of the coverage, enabling them to adequately protect themselves and their children from the content by choosing not to watch. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Programme Information...

Decisions
WL and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-167 (29 June 2021)
2020-167

The Authority upheld a privacy complaint about a Newshub item showing footage of children being uplifted from their homes by Oranga Tamariki. The Authority considered there was adequate information in the clip to enable identification of the children. While the story carried high public interest, protecting children’s privacy interests, particularly where the children are clearly vulnerable, must be paramount in broadcasters’ editorial decision making. Insufficient steps were taken to protect the children’s identities, and given the highly sensitive and distressing circumstances, the Authority considered the disclosure of footage enabling their identification was highly offensive. Upheld: Privacy Orders: Section 16(4) – $1500 costs to the Crown...

Decisions
Shierlaw and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-068 (22 January 2020)
2019-068

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a comment made by Patrick Gower during a Newshub segment about the presence of the far right in New Zealand breached the accuracy standard. The Authority found that Mr Gower’s comment that ‘the global far-right is here in New Zealand, influencing us and our politicians whether we realise it or not’ was not a statement of fact to which the accuracy standard applies. The Authority found the statement was one of comment and political analysis, the type of which is common in news and current affairs broadcasts and which viewers would have understood to be Mr Gower’s conclusion based on the information presented in the item. Not Upheld: Accuracy...

Decisions
McCaughan and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-062 (2 December 2016)
2016-062

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]During three items on Newshub, interviewees used potentially offensive language, including ‘piece of piss’ and ‘shit’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that multiple instances of allegedly ‘foul language’ during a news programme were unacceptable. The Authority emphasised that the expressions reflected the interviewee’s choice of language to convey their response to the issues discussed, and were not abusive or directed at any individual. The Authority recognised that in our diverse New Zealand society, people may communicate using different kinds of language, and this will usually be acceptable so long as standards are maintained. In the context of a news programme aimed at adults, and items which carried relatively high value in terms of public interest and freedom of expression, the Authority was satisfied that the language would be unlikely to cause widespread undue offence among the general audience....

Decisions
Martyn and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2016-042 (22 August 2016)
2016-042

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on Newshub reported on the world’s first legally recognised Pastafarian wedding between two members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (CFSM). The reporter referred to the CFSM as a ‘spoof religion’, and stated, ‘Pastafarians believe that pirates are supreme beings from which all humans evolved, and it’s an official religion’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that describing the CFSM as a ‘spoof religion’ was denigrating, disrespectful and discriminatory. It took the view that the broadcaster’s reference to the Church as a ‘spoof religion’ was an opinion which was available to be taken and able to be expressed, and that the high threshold required for discrimination and denigration to be established had not been reached. The Authority also did not uphold a complaint that the reference to pirates as ‘supreme beings’ was inaccurate....

Decisions
McDonald and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-076 (4 February 2020)
2019-076

The Authority declined to determine a complaint about a news item featuring an eleven year old boy who won a trip to go to a Rugby World Cup 2019 game in Japan with Richie McCaw. The Authority was unable to identify any elements in the broadcast that would raise any concerns under the standards raised. The Authority declined to determine the complaint on the basis it was frivolous and trivial.   Decline to determine: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence, Alcohol, Accuracy...

Decisions
McCaughan and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-065 (16 December 2019)
2019-065

During an episode of Newshub, news reporter Emma Cropper referred to police vehicles as ‘paddy-wagons’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the term breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority did not find any element of condemnation, malice or nastiness present in the usage of the term in this context and therefore could not conclude that the broadcast encouraged discrimination and denigration in contravention of the standard. Not Upheld: Discrimination and denigration...

Decisions
Lewis and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-069 (16 November 2017)
2017-069

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on Newshub reported on the shooting of two Israeli police officers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem. The segment featured footage of officers being chased and shot at, followed by footage of a man being surrounded and shot at, a blurred shot of a dead body on the ground and a body bag on a stretcher. The Authority upheld a complaint that the item breached the good taste and decency, children’s interests and violence standards. The Authority recognised the public interest in the item and that it reported on important and newsworthy events. However, the Authority considered the item should have been preceded by a warning for the potentially disturbing violent content, to enable viewers to make an informed viewing decision, and allow an opportunity to exercise discretion....

Decisions
Wellington Palestine Group and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-053 (5 September 2018)
2018-053

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the use of the term ‘disputed’ in a Newshub item, to describe the land the United States (US) Embassy sits on in East Jerusalem, breached the accuracy standard. The broadcast covered a recent protest in Gaza over the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem and the US calling Jerusalem the capital of Israel. The Authority noted that the accuracy standard requires only that the broadcaster make ‘reasonable efforts’ to ensure the accuracy of the broadcast. In this case, the reporter used the term ‘disputed’ in the ordinary sense of the word, to identify the US Embassy’s location, which is the subject of dispute between Palestine and Israel....

Decisions
Sheerin and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-018 (26 May 2017)
2017-018

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]Four items on Newshub featured stories related to the United Kingdom and/or the British Royal Family. The Authority did not uphold complaints that the Newshub items and the reporters’ comments were biased, unfair and derogatory towards the United Kingdom and/or members of the British Royal Family. The Authority found that the news reports did not contain any material which discriminated against or denigrated any section of the community, or which could be said to be unfair to members of the British Royal Family. The items also did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance which triggered the requirement for balancing perspectives to be given, and did not raise accuracy or programme information issues....

Decisions
Malone and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-087 (4 February 2020)
2019-087

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the terms ‘synthetic cannabis’ and ‘synthetic cannabinoids’ in a Newshub segment that reported on these products, their availability and the fact they have been responsible for a large number of deaths in New Zealand recently breached the accuracy standard. The Authority found that while these products do not contain actual cannabis, the terms ‘synthetic cannabis’ and ‘synthetic cannabinoids’ are commonly used to describe them, both by agencies like the Ministry for Health and the NZ Drug Foundation, and also by the media. Therefore, the Authority did not consider it likely viewers would be significantly misinformed by their use in this broadcast. Not Upheld: Accuracy...

Decisions
Nally and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-107 (7 April 2020)
2019-107

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a segment on Newshub regarding the Invercargill Licensing Trust Group (ILT) was inaccurate. The item reported on the ILT’s history, purpose and its funding of community projects and ventures. The Authority found that the segment was unlikely to significantly misinform or mislead viewers regarding the ILT. The Authority also found that none of the issues raised by the complainant amounted to a material inaccuracy for the purposes of the accuracy standard. Not Upheld: Accuracy...

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