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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
Brennan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-020 (11 April 2022)
2022-020

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a broadcast of The Project discussing multiple musicians’ backlash to podcaster Joe Rogan, which mentioned his use of ivermectin to treat COVID-19, breached the fairness standard. The Authority found Rogan was not treated unfairly in the broadcast and, if any harm had arisen from the broadcast, it did not meet the threshold for regulatory intervention. Not Upheld: Fairness...

Decisions
End-of-Life Choice Society NZ and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-094 (1 October 2020)
2020-094

The End-of-Life Choice Society NZ (EOLCS) complained about an item on The Project which included an interview with the author of the book, The Final Choice, in the lead-up to the binding End of Life Choice referendum. EOLCS was concerned that the interview portrayed the book as ‘an independent assessment of the issue’, which was biased and inaccurate. The Authority noted its role is limited to applying the relevant broadcasting standards and guidelines and determining whether any harm was caused which outweighed the right to freedom of expression; it is not the Authority’s role to determine whether the author is ‘independent’, or her personal view on the topic....

Decisions
Mould and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2020-017 (29 June 2020)
2020-017

The Authority did not uphold a complaint under the good taste and decency standard about a brief segment on The Project displaying an image of a scented candle developed by celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow. The complaint was that the name of the candle was disgusting and vile and unnecessary to report on. The Authority acknowledged that this content could have been better signposted for viewers, and some may have been surprised by it and found it distasteful. However reporting the name of the candle in itself did not threaten standards of good taste and decency at a level which warranted limiting freedom of expression, taking into account the wider context of the broadcast. The segment reported on a real product available for sale and the item viewed in its entirety was consistent with audience expectations of The Project and its typical style of presentation and humour....

Decisions
Callaghan and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-058 (18 November 2019)
2019-058

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a segment on The Project that questioned whether a ‘stolen generation’ was being created in light of an investigative report into Oranga Tamariki’s uplifting of a child breached broadcasting standards. The Authority acknowledged the sensitive nature of the issue addressed but found the item, and specifically the host’s use of the term ‘stolen generation’ was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress. The Authority also found the item was unlikely to mislead viewers regarding the situation considering the nature of the programme and the presentation of alternate viewpoints on the issue. Finally, the Authority found the broadcast did not result in any unfairness to Oranga Tamariki that justified the restriction of the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression, as its perspective was clearly presented in the short item. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Accuracy, Fairness...

Decisions
Hector and Discovery NZ LTD - 2020-120 (9 February 2021)
2020-120

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an episode of The Project in which Jesse Mulligan presented his view on whether New Zealand should ‘be more like Sweden’ in responding to COVID-19. Mr Mulligan stated ‘[Sweden's] number of COVID cases is actually going up, the virus is not under control and although their deaths are down, they're seeing more infections every day’. Mr Mulligan’s statement was not materially inaccurate and was unlikely to mislead viewers in the context, including given the wealth of other coverage and commentary available. The potential harm did not outweigh the right to freedom of expression. Not Upheld: Accuracy...

Decisions
Basham and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-061 (21 September 2017)
2017-061

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An item on The Project interviewed Muslims in New Zealand about their views on Islamic extremism. The item featured a short excerpt of a phone interview with the complainant, who considers himself an ex-Muslim. The presenter said that the ‘stigma of Islamic extremism’ was ‘enough for him [the complainant] to turn on his own religion’. In the sound clip played the complainant said: ‘I changed my first name from Mohammad to Cyrus. I just don’t want to be related to Islam anymore’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint from Mr Basham that this excerpt was misleading, by misrepresenting his reasons for leaving Islam....

Decisions
WR and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2018-059 (26 October 2018)
2018-059

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ] The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment on The Project that discussed whether bystanders should step in if they see parents treating their children in a way they do not agree with. At the beginning of the segment the presenters described an incident in which a father (the complainant) allegedly disciplined his son by denying him afternoon tea. Another parent reported this to Oranga Tamariki, who later found no cause for action and dismissed the complaint. The complainant argued the segment omitted important details about the incident, and was unbalanced and unfair. The Authority acknowledged the significant effect these events have had on the complainant and his family....

Decisions
Yandall & Thomas and Discovery NZ Ltd- 2022-069 (31 August 2022)
2022-069

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under several standards in relation to a segment on The Project. In the broadcast, comedian Justine Smith joked about throwing a half-eaten apple at anti-abortion protesters. The complainants alleged the segment was offensive, promoted violence and criminal activity, and discriminated against anti-abortion protesters. The Authority found that while the statements may have been offensive to some – in the context of the broadcast as a whole, taking into account audience expectations of the show, and the lack of any specific call to act – the alleged harm caused by the broadcast did not reach the thresholds required to restrict the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression under any of the nominated standards. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence, Law and Order, and Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Yukich and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-080 (4 February 2020)
2019-080

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a joke on The Project referring to Mark Lundy breached the good taste and decency standard. After an introductory remark referring to Mr Lundy’s latest appeal, a photo was shown of a car number plate reading ‘I DID IT’, and presenter Jesse Mulligan joked that Mr Lundy ‘may want to re-think the car he’s using to get to and from court’ and referred to the car ‘travelling at a very high speed’. Diana Yukich complained that the joke was in poor taste as it made light of domestic violence by alluding to Mr Lundy’s crimes, and undermined the work being done to counter violence against women....

Decisions
Cumin and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-068 (13 October 2021)
2021-068

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on The Project examining the history of violence and conflict between Israelis and Palestinians and ‘what’s different this time’. The complainant alleged the maps illustrating the dispossession of Palestinian land were inaccurate, minimised original Jewish land, minimised current Palestinian land, and perpetuated ‘lies that are used to delegitimise the State of Israel’. The Authority acknowledged that Israeli and Palestinian entitlement to land is a highly sensitive and contested issue. It found the maps contained some inaccuracies and the broadcaster had not made sufficient effort to ensure their accuracy. However, any inaccuracies were unlikely to significantly affect the audience’s understanding of the programme as a whole. In addition, the value in theexpression in the broadcast meant regulatory intervention was not justified in this instance. The Authority reminded broadcasters of the importance of accuracy and consistency when reporting on this issue....

Decisions
Davidge and Mediaworks TV Ltd -2020-068 (24 November 2020)
2020-068

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment on The Project, in which host (and comedian) Jeremy Corbett compared the time then National Party Leader Todd Muller and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent thinking before responding to a question about whether US President Donald Trump is racist. The complaint was that the segment breached broadcasting standards by implying Mr Muller ‘failed’ by answering the question too soon and by comparing Mr Trudeau with Mr Muller rather than Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The segment was clearly intended to be comical rather than a serious political commentary. In that context it would not have misled viewers and did not trigger the requirements of the balance standard. Nor was the item unfair to Mr Muller who, as then Leader of the Opposition, could reasonably expect to be the subject of media coverage and commentary, including satirical commentary....

Decisions
Hibbs and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-074 (23 August 2022)
2022-074

A segment on The Project reported on the discovery of the Smeagol slug in South Westland. The hosts took the opportunity to tease their co-host, Kanoa Lloyd, during the segment as they knew she had a phobia of slugs. The complainant stated the segment breached the good taste and decency standard as it normalised bullying behaviour and harassing someone due to their phobias. The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding the segment amounted to friendly banter without any offensive intent. Accordingly, it did not reach the threshold for regulatory intervention. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency...

Decisions
Clapham and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2018-089 (18 December 2018)
2018-089

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]During a segment of The Project, the presenters discussed whether it was illegal to wear headphones while driving. One of the presenters, a well-known New Zealand comedian, said that he wore headphones while driving ‘because it drowns out the sound of the seatbelt warning’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the presenter’s comment trivialised an important road safety issue. The segment as a whole carried a positive road safety message, with the presenters sharing their surprise that wearing headphones while driving was not illegal in New Zealand (though distracted drivers could still be charged with careless driving). The comment was clearly intended to be humorous and the reactions of the other presenters balanced the comment and signalled to viewers that wearing your seatbelt was important....

Decisions
Jack and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-084 (15 December 2017)
2017-084

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]During a segment on The Project, the hosts discussed a new artificial intelligence technology capable of detecting a person’s sexual orientation through analysis of their facial features. In response, presenter Jesse Mulligan commented, ‘That’s an amazing story, a computer can tell if you’re gay or not. I hope the computer can keep a secret. ’ The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this comment ‘perpetuated the prejudiced view that homosexuality [was] something to be kept secret and… shameful’. The Authority found that, while Mr Mulligan’s comment could be seen as ‘clumsy’ or tactless, it was clearly intended to be humorous and it did not actively encourage the different treatment, or devalue the reputation of, gay people as a section of the community....

Decisions
Hall and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-159 (22 June 2021)
2020-159

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on The Project, which discussed the financing of the Government’s $50 billion COVID-19 rescue and recovery budget. It suggested New Zealanders are borrowing this money from the Central Bank in the form of payment for Government bonds. The complainant argued this was inaccurate because New Zealanders are borrowing the money from private institutions. He also complained the broadcast confused direct monetary financing with quantitative easing by suggesting the Reserve Bank was buying bonds directly from the Government (rather than from private institutions). The Authority found the broadcast was materially accurate overall and unlikely to mislead viewers. Not Upheld: Accuracy...

Decisions
Boyce and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2017-087 (15 December 2017)
2017-087

Summary [This summary does not form part of the decision. ] An item on The Project featured an interview with a ‘political consultant and former National [Party] staffer’. The interviewee provided her perspective on why the National Party received more votes than the Labour Party in the 2017 General Election and the disparity between the election result and poll results prior to the election. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcaster’s choice of political commentator was biased and the programme was misleading by suggesting she was an ‘independent political commentator’. The introduction to the segment did not imply that the interviewee was an independent political commentator, but clearly referred to her as a former National Party staffer. As such it created an audience expectation that the interview would be approaching the topic of National’s initial electoral success from a particular perspective....

Decisions
Wilding and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-161 (20 April 2021)
2020-161

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a comment by Mark Richardson on The Project regarding the Green Party and its responsibility for the protection of native trees. The statement was an opinion not subject to the accuracy standard, and was not unfair to the Green Party. The programme information standard did not apply. Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness, Programme Information...

Decisions
Brereton & Riches and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-097 (16 June 2020)
2019-097

The Authority has upheld two complaints that a segment on The Project, about an incident where charges against a man who allegedly shot at a drone were dropped, was in breach of the fairness and accuracy standards. The Authority found the segment was unfair to the man and would have misled audiences as it provided an inaccurate account of events through an interview with the drone’s pilot and additional comments from presenters. The drone pilot interviewee was allowed to put forward unchallenged his views on the man, and the broadcaster did not do enough to provide the man with an opportunity to respond to the comments. As the broadcast did not disclose any private information about the man, nor discuss a controversial issue of public importance, the privacy and balance standards were not upheld. Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy Not Upheld: Privacy, Balance No orders...

Decisions
Joubert-Buys and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-156 (16 February 2022)
2021-156

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint about the comments something was ‘hated with the passion of a thousand Christs’ and ‘for the love of God’. 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)...

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