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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.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Lerner and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2021-091 (13 October 2021)
2021-091

A segment on Magic Afternoons with Leah Panapa and Danny Watson on 1 July 2021 touched on the topic of Jewish people in Hollywood and included the comment ‘Hollywood was run by Jewish people.’ The broadcaster conceded the comments made by the hosts ‘reflected a trope evoking prejudicial ideas’ and upheld a complaint under the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority found the comments had the potential to affirm, further embed and spread negative stereotypes, but in the circumstances considered the action taken by the broadcaster was sufficient to address the breach.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration (Action Taken)

Decisions
Meridian Energy Ltd and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-085 (13 October 2021)
2021-085

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item covering the Electricity Authority’s new trading rule breached the accuracy and fairness standards. The item was materially accurate, given its focus was the introduction of a new trading rule, motivated in part to address an undesirable trading situation (associated with Meridian Energy’s actions). It was not unfair to Meridian, as the programme was not inaccurate in how it presented Meridian’s contribution to the ‘revamped’ rule.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Ong and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-086 (13 October 2021)
2021-086

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

Decisions
Parvomai and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-111 (13 October 2021)
2021-111

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint, under the accuracy standard, about an episode of Our Changing World. The Authority considered the complaint, about the use of the word ‘English’ instead of ‘British’ trivial.

Declined to Determine: Accuracy (section 11(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 – trivial)

Decisions
Wills and Discovery NZ Limited - 2021-087 (13 October 2021)
2021-087

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the balance, accuracy and fairness standards. It noted the complainant had not identified any inaccuracies or particular issues of public importance requiring balance. It also found the two interviewees were treated fairly and the interviews represented what it expects of the media in performing its role of scrutinising and holding to account those in power.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Te Ora Hou Ōtautahi Incorporated and Radio New Zealand Limited - 2021-082 (22 September 2021)
2021-082

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the balance standard about an interview on Nine to Noon. The complaint was that the interview about the subject of the truancy service system in schools only canvassed a single perspective. Considering the interview was signalled as approaching the issue from a particular perspective, the perspectives presented were criticism of the status quo, and the period of current interest is still ongoing, it is unlikely listeners would be left misinformed by the broadcast or unaware there were other perspectives on the issues discussed.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
Drinnan and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-083 (22 September 2021)
2021-083

The Authority has not upheld a complaint alleging an interview with Waikato University senior lecturer in psychology Dr Jaimie Veale was inaccurate and unbalanced. While the item discussed a controversial issue of public importance, the selection of a transgender woman to the New Zealand Olympic team, it was clearly signalled as coming from a particular perspective. It focused on one aspect of the issue, the potentially stigmatising effect of the debate on trans people, and was part of a range of media coverage on the issue. The Authority also found there was nothing inaccurate or misleading in the way Dr Veale was introduced.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

Decisions
Garrett and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-073 (22 September 2021)
2021-073

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

Decisions
Judge and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-074 (22 September 2021)
2021-074

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a promo which contained a joke that New Zealand’s duck hunting season had been off to a bad start because ‘someone accidentally shot Trevor Mallard’. Viewers would have understood the comment as a joke, and it was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or encourage illegal activity, nor did it contain unduly disturbing violent content.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence, Law and Order

Decisions
Kehoe and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-084 (22 September 2021)
2021-084

The Authority has not upheld a complaint alleging a segment on Police Ten 7 breached the discrimination and denigration standard. A man called a woman who had called the police a ‘nosey motherf***ing white c***’. The Authority found in the context of the long-running series, and the particular programme, this comment did not reach the threshold for a finding that it encouraged discrimination or denigration in breach of the standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Thwaites and Radio New Zealand Limited - 2021-078 (22 September 2021)
2021-078

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the discrimination and denigration and fairness standards about an item on Morning Report. The Authority did not consider referencing the iwi affiliation of the subjects featured in the piece discriminated against or denigrated other New Zealanders stuck in India due to COVID-19 who are not tangata whenua. It also found the complaint did not identify a particular individual or organisation that was alleged to have been treated unfairly in the broadcast, so the fairness standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration and Fairness

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)

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