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Decisions
Carapiet and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2022-033 (6 July 2022)
2022-033

An episode of Crowdscience broadcast on RNZ National discussed whether it was possible to engineer plants to make them edible (by removing toxic compounds) or more nutritious. In doing so, the broadcast investigated advances in genetic modification technology. The complainant stated the broadcast breached the accuracy and balance standards as it allegedly omitted relevant information, resulting in an exaggeration of the benefits identified in the broadcast of the advances mentioned. The Authority considered the complaint to be most appropriately addressed under the accuracy standard. It found the majority of the broadcast was materially accurate, and in any event, reasonable efforts were made to ensure accuracy as it was reasonable to rely on the experts interviewed. Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance...

Decisions
Cook and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2013-014
2013-014

Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989Afternoons with Jim Mora – host and panellists discussed coroner’s recommendation – panellist criticised recommendation and stated, “for god’s sake, somebody drown that coroner” – panellist’s comment allegedly in breach of standards relating to good taste and decency, law and order, accuracy, fairness, and discrimination and denigrationFindingsStandard 1 (good taste and decency), Standard 2 (law and order), Standard 5 (accuracy), Standard 6 (fairness), and Standard 7 (discrimination and denigration) – panellist’s comment was a flippant remark used to express his criticism of the coroner’s recommendation – was not intended to be taken literally or as a serious encouragement to commit unlawful acts – comment aimed at coroner in his professional capacity and so was not unfair to him – coroners not a section of the community – comment was opinion and not a factual statement to which standard 5 applied – not…...

Decisions
Hearn and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-001 (16 June 2020)
2020-001

The Authority upheld a complaint that a broadcast of First Up was misleading and breached the accuracy standard. The Authority found the quiz question ‘what charges did Sweden drop last week against WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange?’ was misleading, as charges were never formally laid against Mr Assange. The Authority also found that RNZ did not make reasonable efforts to ensure the accuracy of the broadcast noting that the error was careless. The Authority did not make any orders on this occasion. Upheld: Accuracy No Orders...

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
Bolot, Finlay and Gautier and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2013-008
2013-008

Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989Checkpoint, Nine to Noon and Sunday Morning with Chris Laidlaw – extended interviews contained discussions about an incident of escalating violence in the Gaza Strip in the context of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict – allegedly unbalancedFindingsStandard 4 (controversial issues) – incident of escalating violence in the context of ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict amounted to a controversial issue of public importance – broadcaster made reasonable efforts to present significant viewpoints, including the Israeli perspective, across numerous news bulletins and programmes – not upheld This headnote does not form part of the decision. Introduction [1] Five selected items reporting on an episode of escalating violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the Gaza Strip were broadcast on Radio New Zealand National....

Decisions
Stopford and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-075 (14 October 2020)
2020-075

An episode of The Panel included an interview with a professor from the department of preventive and social medicine, whose focus is respiratory epidemiology, about his research on the effects of smoking cannabis on the lungs. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the interview breached the accuracy and balance standards. The Authority did not consider the accuracy standard applied as the interview was a short conversation about the findings of the study where the interviewee was clearly giving his own perspective and analysis, having conducted his own research on the topic. The Authority accepted that the wider debate about cannabis legalisation is a controversial issue of public importance, of which the interview was narrowly focussed on one aspect (the alleged health effects)....

Decisions
Toovey and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2005-046
2005-046

Complaint under section 8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989Morning Report – item on changing population statistics of New Zealand – introduced with reference to the possibility of New Zealand becoming a republic – allegedly unbalancedFindingsPrinciple 4 (balance) – topic of republicanism not the controversial issue of public importance covered by the item – balance on that issue not required – not upheldThis headnote does not form part of the decision. Broadcast [1] On 26 April 2005 at 7. 20am on National Radio, an item on Morning Report covered changing population statistics in New Zealand, noting the expectation of continuing increases in Asian, Māori and Pacific Island communities. The introduction to the item included the statement “some believe this will fuel arguments to ditch the Queen as the head of State”....

Decisions
Wilson and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2003-073, 2003-074
2003-073–074

ComplaintMorning Report – item about industrial accidents in timber mill – interviewer questioned union representative aggressively while appearing cordial with owner’s representative – unfair Complaint News Item – later news item included owner’s view only – unbalanced FindingsPrinciple 4; Principle 5 and Guidelines 5b and 5c – interviewer’s approach to each spokesperson similar – no uphold News item at 7. 30am balanced by item within period of current interest at 8. 00am – no uphold This headnote does not form part of the decision. Summary [1] A recent industrial accident at a timber mill, and the company’s accident record, were dealt with in an item during Morning Report broadcast on National Radio at about 7. 25am on 17 April 2003. The item included interviews with representatives from the union and the company. The discussion was referred to in an item during the news bulletin broadcast at 7. 30am....

Decisions
Blaker and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2012-129
2012-129

Complaint under section 8(1A) of the Broadcasting Act 1989Spectrum – reported on The Nelson Ark APART programme – presenter interviewed graduates, including a young woman, about their involvement in the programme – woman was asked about her background and how she came to be on the programme – allegedly in breach of her privacy FindingsStandard 3 (privacy) – woman was not identifiable for the purposes of the privacy standard – woman did not say she was raped, as alleged – no private facts were disclosed in a manner that would be considered highly offensive – high value speech – not upheld This headnote does not form part of the decision. Introduction [1] An item on Spectrum reported on The Nelson Ark APART programme, an eight-week dog training course designed to teach young people discipline, compassion and tolerance through empathy....

Decisions
Fletcher and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2016-022 (27 June 2016)
2016-022

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]Worldwatch broadcast a three-part interview series with Hanan Ashrawi, a Palestinian legislator, described as ‘one of the most powerful women in the Middle East’ and ‘a forceful advocate for Palestinian self-determination and peace in the Middle East’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint alleging that the interviews amounted to support for terrorism, ‘[s]olely blame[d] Israel for all the Palestinian suffering’, and contained a number of inaccurate and misleading allegations about the Israel-Palestine conflict. The interviews did not contain several of the statements complained about, but were rather the complainant’s interpretation of what he considered Ms Ashrawi had implied. Other comments complained about were clearly Ms Ashwari’s opinion, to which the accuracy standard did not apply....

Decisions
Pink and Radio New Zealand -2020-036 (24 August 2020)
2020-036

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that segments on the News and Morning Report reporting on a murder suicide breached the good taste and decency, children’s interests and violence standards. The Authority noted the public interest in the broadcasts and audience’s awareness of the need to exercise discretion during news programming to regulate what their children are exposed to. The Authority also found that the News bulletins covering the item did not reach the threshold necessary to require a warning and that the warning that preceded the Morning Report item was sufficient to enable audiences to make informed choices as to whether they, or children in their care, should listen to the broadcast. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, and Violence....

Decisions
Prager and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-033 (28 September 2020)
2020-033

The Authority upheld a complaint that a Checkpoint report summarising the complainant’s submission at a Waitematā local board public meeting was inaccurate and unfair to her. The item reported that ‘the sparks continued to fly when activist Lisa Prager described how she had claimed mana whenua status in her bid to save the trees [on Ōwairaka Mt Albert] but now regrets the move. [One] board member… refused to thank Ms Prager for her submission because, she said, her comments were “a bit racist”. ’ The Authority agreed with Ms Prager that the use of the word ‘regrets’ did not accurately reflect her view expressed at the meeting: “. . . I retire any claim to being mana whenua whatsoever. But I have no regrets in standing up and initiating the conversation. . ....

Decisions
Sumner and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 1994-104
1994-104

BEFORE THE BROADCASTING STANDARDS AUTHORITY Decision No: 104/94 Dated the 3rd day of November 1994 IN THE MATTER of the Broadcasting Act 1989 AND IN THE MATTER of a complaint by GRANT SUMNER of Christchurch Broadcaster RADIO NEW ZEALAND LIMITED I W Gallaway Chairperson J R Morris L M Loates W J Fraser...

Decisions
Ashton and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2012-060
2012-060

Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989Checkpoint – item reported on “An Anglican Minister who has been suspended after he removed children from a youth camp… to protect them from a man he believed was a sexual predator” – allegedly in breach of controversial issues, fairness and accuracy standards FindingsStandard 6 (fairness) – broadcaster did not have a sufficient foundation for broadcasting serious allegations – broadcaster did not provide any details about corroborating evidence to support allegations – church was provided with a fair opportunity to comment but the item failed to adequately present the church’s response – church and Bishop treated unfairly – upheld Standard 5 (accuracy) – Authority not in a position to determine whether impression of alleged offending was misleading – matters more appropriately addressed as issues of fairness – not upheld Standard 4 (controversial issues) – item did not discuss a controversial issue of…...

Decisions
Ministry of Social Development and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-097 (9 March 2018)
2017-097

Te Raumawhitu Kupenga declared a conflict of interest and did not participate in determination of this complaint. Summary [This summary does not form part of the decision. ] An item on Morning Report featured an interview with a Social Policy Advisor at the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), who discussed CAB’s experience assisting the public with income support applications to Work & Income New Zealand (WINZ). The Authority did not uphold a complaint from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) that this interview was unbalanced, unfair and inaccurate. The Authority found that because of the nature of the item – which comprised a brief interview with one individual, who approached a widely reported issue from a clearly identified perspective – audiences would not have expected to hear MSD’s response to the comments made....

Decisions
McCullough and NZME Radio Ltd - 2020-008 (9 June 2020)
2020-008

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a discussion on a talkback segment on Newstalk ZB breached broadcasting standards. The Authority found that the complainant, who had called in to the programme, was not treated unfairly as she was given an opportunity to voice her opinion and was treated respectfully. The Authority also found that the broadcast’s criticism of United States President Donald Trump did not exceed what could fairly be expected to be levelled against a highly controversial United States President. The Authority noted that the balance and accuracy standards apply only to news, current affairs and factual programmes, and the accuracy standard does not apply to statements clearly distinguishable as analysis, comment or opinion. The discrimination and denigration standard also did not apply as it does not apply to individuals or organisations. Not Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Thorp and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-164 (7 March 2022)
2021-164

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an interview on Morning Report with the new leader of the National Party, Christopher Luxon MP breached the discrimination and denigration standard. During the interview, Luxon was asked questions around his Christian beliefs and the impact of these beliefs on his political views on abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage. The Authority was satisfied the interview did not contain anything that encouraged discrimination against, or denigration of, people of Christian faith. Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Ward and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 1997-156
1997-156

BEFORE THE BROADCASTING STANDARDS AUTHORITY Decision No: 1997-156 Dated the 27th day of November 1997 IN THE MATTER of the Broadcasting Act 1989 AND IN THE MATTER of a complaint by IAN WARD of Christchurch Broadcaster RADIO NEW ZEALAND LIMITED S R Maling Chairperson L M Loates R McLeod J Withers...

Decisions
Ministry of Education and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2017-076 (18 April 2018)
2017-076

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]On 18 March 2017, RNZ reported on allegations made by the Board of Trustees at Salisbury School, a Nelson school for girls with complex learning needs, that the Ministry of Education (Ministry) had actively discouraged parents from enrolling children at the school so that it could be closed. On 31 March and 6 April 2017, RNZ broadcast a series of items about an alleged lack of funding, resources and support for Northland teachers struggling to cope with violent and disruptive children. The Authority upheld aspects of a complaint from the Ministry that RNZ’s coverage of these issues was unfair and unbalanced....

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)...

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