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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 The complaint alleged the promo sensationalised news that was no longer current, suggesting another stabbing had occurred, and unnecessarily repeated scenes of violence when affected families were still suffering and children were likely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
Edgewell Personal Care and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-077 (15 September 2021)
2021-077

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on Fair Go breached the accuracy and fairness standards. The item investigated a mother’s concerns following her son getting severe sunburn despite applying Banana Boat SPF50 sunscreen, and more broadly how sunscreens are tested under New Zealand regulations, and whether the public should be able to rely on claims on sunscreen labels. The Authority found the mother’s comments were clearly her opinion, to which the accuracy standard did not apply, and the programme was not otherwise inaccurate or misleading. The programme did not allege Banana Boat sunscreen does not work, nor that it does not comply with regulatory requirements. The complainant, as the company responsible for Banana Boat, was given a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment in response to issues raised in the story and its response was fairly presented.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

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
Olsen and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-055 (15 September 2021)
2021-055

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about an episode of New Zealand Today. The complaint was that an interviewee was treated unfairly, and the segment discriminated against and denigrated the elderly. Noting that comments concerning the interviewee were based on his individual actions and views (rather than his status as ‘elderly’) and that the discrimination and denigration standard is not intended to prevent the broadcast of genuine expressions of comment, legitimate humour or satire, the Authority found no breach of that standard. In the context, the Authority also found the interviewee was not treated unfairly.

Not Upheld: Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Soh and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-075 (15 September 2021)
2021-075

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a statement on Coast FM news, ‘A herd of international students is about to stampede into New Zealand’, breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority found ‘international students’ did not amount to a section of the community under the standard. In any event, the statement would not have reached the threshold required for finding a breach. There were issues with the retention of the broadcast by NZME, and the Authority noted this was a serious procedural concern.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

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
Spring and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-072 (6 September 2021)
2021-072

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint regarding a news item which included a quote from Liz Cheney calling Donald Trump’s claims that he had won the 2020 US Election ‘dangerous lies’. The complainant was concerned about RNZ referring to some politicians as liars but not others. The Authority found the content of the complaint did not relate to the substance of the broadcast, and was not capable of being properly determined by a complaints procedure.

Declined to Determine: Programme Information, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989)

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
East and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-059 (24 August 2021)
2021-059

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a ‘Carpool Kōrero’ segment in an episode of Popstars during which a celebrity guest talked to each of the contestants while apparently driving a car. The complainant alleged a young person may have been unable to discern the guest was not in fact driving, and therefore the broadcast breached the law and order standard. The Authority found reasonably attentive viewers would have likely understood the segment took place in a simulated environment and in any case the broadcast was unlikely to encourage audiences to break the law.

Not Upheld: Law and Order

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
Grammer and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-070 (24 August 2021)
2021-070

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the accuracy and balance standards about an item discussing the impact of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (the HSNO Act) on medical research, particularly in the context of COVID-19 vaccines. The item contained opinions from three scientists, which were not subject to the factual accuracy requirement and were presented accurately. The item was not required to include detail about how the HSNO Act regulated outdoor use of genetic modification compared to medical or laboratory use, as this was not material to the broadcast. The item also contained differing views, so balance was achieved within the programme.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance

Decisions
Harris and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-057 (24 August 2021)
2021-057

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about questions asked of a New Zealander stranded in India following the Government’s suspension of travel. The complaint alleged the questions breached the law and order standard as they suggested numerous ways the interviewee could avoid the travel ban and illegally return home. The Authority found the questions did not actively encourage illegal activity nor actively undermine law and order, and there was a high public interest in the broadcast.  

Not Upheld: Law and Order

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
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
Van Peursem & Fox and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-056 (24 August 2021)
2021-056

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about an item on The Project. A presenter commented ‘I think happily we don’t have many Americans in New Zealand so we probably won’t end up in that situation’, in response to a question from another presenter, about whether New Zealanders would start demanding a right to bear arms as in the United States, in light of a recent knife attack. The complainants alleged these comments were discriminatory against Americans, and breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority acknowledged the comments had the potential to cause offence, but found they did not meet the high threshold required to breach the standard and justify restricting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

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