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Decisions
Bell & Wolters and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-036 (21 July 2021)
2021-036

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about Mike Hosking’s statement on Mike Hosking Breakfast that the Duchess of Sussex was a ‘shallow, self-absorbed, attention-seeking, woke bandwagon-riding hussy’. The Authority found it was not likely to cause widespread, undue offence in the context. Although the discrimination and denigration standard applied, as the word ‘hussy’ may refer to and reflect upon women as a section of society, the comments did not meet the threshold justifying regulatory intervention.

Not upheld: Good taste and decency, discrimination and denigration

Decisions
Climie and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-017 (21 July 2021)
2021-017

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News that reported a third marine heatwave in four years in Auckland and Northland. It described the causes of the heatwave in terms of subtropical winds and global warming, and its consequences in terms of sea level rises and ocean acidification, and included comments from local experts. The complaint was that the broadcast misled viewers to believe the higher ocean temperatures in Northland and Auckland were due principally to climate change and the warming effects were global (when actually the heatwave was driven by a natural climate event, occurring locally). The Authority found the broadcaster made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy, including reliance on authoritative experts, and the broadcast was unlikely to mislead viewers.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Grimwood and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-018 (21 July 2021)
2021-018

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about RNZ’s election night broadcast. During a discussion about the likely make-up of the incoming government based on preliminary election results, one guest commentator remarked that climate change was ‘not a “technical” portfolio, it’s an existential crisis’, to which the host said, ‘yeah okay, I’m not going to get into that now’. The complaint was that this breached the balance standard on the basis climate change was of fundamental relevance to, and should have been the focus of, a discussion about the future of politics and elected representatives. The Authority found this was a matter of editorial discretion and did not raise issues under the balance standard, in the context.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
Higgins and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-22 (21 July 2021)
2021-022

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that use of the phrase ‘how the hell’ in an item on Breakfast breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found the use of the word would not have caused widespread undue offence or distress or undermined widely shared community values.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Kane and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-031 (21 July 2021)
2021-031

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about comments made by Jack Tame during his morning show including the statement ‘Māori don’t just deserve special treatment, but are contractually guaranteed a form of special treatment under the Treaty’. The Authority found, in context, the comment amounted to analysis to which the accuracy standard does not apply. The comment was not the focus of the discussion, and an opinion-based segment such as this is not required to provide alternate perspectives under the balance standard. The remaining standards did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness

Decisions
Maharey and Television New Zealand Limited - 2021-040 (21 July 2021)
2021-040

The Authority has not upheld a complaint a Sunday feature about sexually explicit social media sites breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. In the context, particularly noting the public interest value of the feature, audience expectations, and nature of the programme, the Authority considered the broadcast was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence, or undermine widely shared community standards. The Authority found the content did not go beyond what the audience could reasonably expect of the programme, and the introduction was sufficient to signpost the type of content to be expected.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency and Children’s Interests

Decisions
Maysmor and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-048 (21 July 2021)
2021-048

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about multiple images of needles and vaccinations being performed shown in two Newshub Live at 6pm items reporting on COVID-19. The Authority found the images were unlikely to cause widespread undue offence. There is a high public interest and value in news reporting about the vaccination programme. In the context of a news item, the images would not adversely affect child viewers. The balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Good taste and decency, Children’s interests, Balance

Decisions
Oluwole and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-023 (21 July 2021)
2021-023

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about comments made by a caller on Newstalk ZB’s Tim Roxborogh show. The caller was explaining why he ‘fell out of love with Cuba’ and expressing disbelief that a place so close to the United States could be characterised by what he described as ‘poverty and the sheer nothingness of everything’, also saying, ‘you’re not in Africa… you are 90 miles from America’. The complaint was that this remark equated the entire African continent and its people with poverty, was discriminatory, and was not challenged by the host. The Authority acknowledged the complainant’s concerns, but found the passing reference by a caller did not reach the high threshold for a breach of the discrimination and denigration standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Scarlett and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-043 (21 July 2021)
2021-043

In a Seven Sharp item, a presenter expressed his surprise by asking an interviewee ‘how the bejesus did a snake get into New Zealand’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint the item breached the good taste and decency standard. While acknowledging terms such as ‘Jesus’ and its variations like ‘bejesus’ may be offensive to some, the Authority found expressions of this nature used as exclamations, will not likely cause widespread undue offence or distress, or undermine widely shared community standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Stranaghan and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-041 (21 July 2021)
2021-041

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a broadcast on the criticism faced by London Police following their actions in stopping a vigil for murdered woman Sarah Everard, as participants were not abiding by the COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time. The Authority found the item was not unfair to the London Police Chief or the London Police. It did not actively encourage non-compliance or seriously undermine law and order. The balance standard was not applicable as the item did not amount to a ‘discussion’.

Not Upheld: Fairness, Law and Order, Balance

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
Collie and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-008 (15 July 2021)
2021-008

During Mike Hosking Breakfast on Newstalk ZB, Mike Yardley (standing in for Mr Hosking) briefly mentioned the flouting of COVID-19 rules by two named Sky News UK journalists and stated: ‘veteran journalist Adam Boulton is also involved in this’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint the broadcast breached the accuracy standard by misleading listeners to believe Mr Boulton was one of those who flouted the rules. The Authority acknowledged that, without further clarification, the broadcast may have created that impression. However in all the circumstances the potential harm in a New Zealand broadcasting context was not at a level justifying regulatory intervention.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Cant and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-030 (15 July 2021)
2021-030

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a 1 News item looking at the housing crisis on Waiheke Island. One affected resident who was interviewed said he ‘[felt] like a gypsy wandering around, living out of suitcases and boxes’. The complaint was that the use of the word ‘gypsy’ was derogatory and evokes prejudicial biases towards the Roma community. While the Authority has previously acknowledged the potential harm in the use of the word, in this particular context it did not outweigh the interviewee’s right to express himself and describe his experience. This expression and the item as a whole carried high value and public interest and did not warrant regulatory intervention or restricting the important right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-028 (15 July 2021)
2021-028

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News reporting on COVID-19 vaccine rollouts. The Authority found, in the context of the broadcast, the statistics cited in relation to Israel’s vaccine rollout were accurate. A discussion of access to vaccines in Israel by Palestinians was not material to the item and its omission would not have misled viewers. The remaining standards did not apply to the broadcast or issues raised in the complaint.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-029 (15 July 2021)
2021-029

The Authority has not upheld a complaint alleging an item on Morning Report misrepresented the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s views responding to iwi concerns about groundwater issues, including why local streams were drying up, and did not properly examine the complexity of the issues. The Authority found no breach of the balance standard as the item focused on one aspect of the issue and was clearly presented from the iwi’s perspective, and there is ongoing coverage of various viewpoints on the topic.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
New Zealand Defence Force and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-024 (15 July 2021)
2021-024

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

Decisions
Alexander and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-012 (29 June 2021)
2021-012

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News that discussed a controversial wall-hanging in a Puhoi Pub bearing the n-word, and included footage of the wall-hanging itself. The complainant alleged the broadcast breached the good taste and decency standard by displaying the offensive term multiple times, when the item could have discussed the issue without doing so. The Authority noted the item censored verbal reference to the term by the pub’s owner, and was preceded by a verbal warning that ‘some viewers may find details in Jenny Suo’s story distressing’. It also noted the item’s footage of the wall-hanging was part of its critical examination of the issue, the offensive term was not depicted outside that context, and the broadcast carried significant public interest in creating an active public discourse. Having regard to the relevant context and value of the item, the Authority found the broadcast was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress or undermine widely shared community values.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
NH and Radio Virsa - 2020-164 (29 June 2021)
2020-164

The majority of the Authority has not upheld a privacy complaint about an item on Asliyat responding to petitions made in opposition to Radio Virsa staff, in relation to Gurdwara management and the sale of a Gurdwara property. The host called into question the righteousness of the petitioners as Sikhs, including the complainant’s son, who the host identified as someone at the centre of a family scandal (which included issues of drug addiction and allegations of theft and other ‘bad things’). The complainant submitted the broadcast identified his son and disclosed private information in a way that was highly offensive and damaging to the reputation of his son and son’s family. Based on the information disclosed, the majority of the Authority found the complainant’s son was not identifiable beyond family and close friends who would reasonably be expected to know about the matter dealt with in the broadcast. The minority view was that the information disclosed enabled listeners, beyond family and close friends who would reasonably be expected to know about the issues discussed, to identify the complainant’s son, and this information had the quality of private information whether or not all of it was true, such that the disclosure breached the privacy standard.

Not Upheld by Majority: Privacy  

Decisions
TC and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-047 (29 June 2021)
2021-047

The Authority has not upheld a privacy complaint about an episode of David Lomas Investigates, which covered the story of a woman who as a baby was found on the footpath wrapped in newspaper. In two segments, Mr Lomas visited the address at which the baby was reportedly found, and during the course of the programme disclosed the street, suburb and city. Two letterbox numbers at the bottom of an entrance path and steps were also shown ‘at the next property’, as an example of what the address may have looked like when the baby was found (before construction of the new building on the property). The complainant argued this breached her privacy as the programme disclosed her full address and filmed her property without notifying her or asking for permission. The Authority found the privacy standard did not apply, as the right to privacy attaches to identifiable individuals rather than to property, and the complainant was not identifiable in the broadcast.

Not Upheld: Privacy  

Decisions
Frost and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-013 (29 June 2021)
2021-013

The Authority has not upheld a complaint regarding a broadcast in which the host commented on the US election results and suggested outgoing President Trump had been defrauded of votes, particularly in Georgia. Listeners would have been well aware of other views and not expected a balanced approach to the issue in the context of a talkback programme which approached the subject from a particular perspective. The complainant also did not identify any person or organisation that was treated unfairly in the broadcast. In any event, the discussion of US political events, in the context of the broadcast, was unlikely to cause unfairness.

Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness

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