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Decisions
CG and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2013-082
2013-082

An episode of The Claim Game, a reality series about insurance claims, profiled a claim involving a house fire, where the tenant did not have contents insurance. The Authority upheld the complaint from the tenant that the programme breached her privacy and that she had been treated unfairly. The broadcaster could not demonstrate that the complainant had given consent to appear in the programme, and she had made her objections known to both the broadcaster and the production company before this third repeat broadcast, which occurred four years after the filming took place.

Upheld: Fairness, Privacy
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Children’s Interests

Order: Section 13(1)(d) – compensation to the complainant for breach of privacy $1,000

Decisions
Dr Z and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2012-074
2012-074

A Close Up item focused on a New Zealand doctor who was offering an experimental stem cell treatment to people with Multiple Sclerosis. Hidden camera footage was obtained by a patient, and parts of it were broadcast in the story. The Authority upheld the complaint from the doctor that he was treated unfairly and his privacy was breached. The doctor was not given a fair opportunity to comment for the programme, his privacy was invaded through the use of a hidden camera, and, as the raw footage from the consultation was unavailable, the broadcaster could not demonstrate that the level of public interest in the footage outweighed the breach of privacy.

Upheld: Fairness, Privacy
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues

Orders: Section 16(1) – legal costs to the complainant $5,500

Decisions
Craig and 4 Others and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2013-034
2013-034

In two items broadcast a week apart on Seven Sharp, the presenters made comments about the leader of the Conservative Party, Colin Craig, relating to his opposition to the Marriage (Definition) Amendment Bill. The Authority did not uphold the complaints relating to the first broadcast, as it was balanced and was not unfair to Colin Craig. However, the second broadcast, which was a satirical piece, went too far and amounted to a personal attack on Colin Craig which was unfair. The Authority ordered the broadcast of a statement including an apology to Colin Craig, and $1,500 costs to the Crown.

Upheld: Fairness

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order, Privacy, Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming, Violence

Orders: Broadcast statement, $1,500 costs to Crown

Decisions
Pompallier Catholic College and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2012-122
2012-122

Close Up reported on comments made by the Principal of Pompallier Catholic College in a school newsletter, objecting to gay marriage. The item claimed that the Principal suspended a teacher, who was interviewed by Close Up, and that students who opposed the comments were "threatened". A news ticker on Breakfast the following morning echoed the claims. The school argued the programmes were misleading and unfair, because the teacher was suspended for reasons other than his objection to the Principal's views, and no students were threatened. The Authority found that Close Up did not fairly present the reasons for the suspension, which created an unfairly negative impression of the Principal and the College, who were not given a fair chance to comment. It said the item should have couched the "threats" as allegations or the students' views, rather than unequivocal statements of fact. The Breakfast ticker was not material in the context of the programme.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

No Order

Decisions
Anderson and 3 Others and Cruise FM Waikato - 2012-133
2012-133

In two interviews the host of Cruise FM made comments that were critical of, and threatening towards, local council members and a rival radio station. The Authority upheld the complaint that the comments were unfair. The comments were personally abusive and had the potential to be very damaging, and the host abused his position by using the airwaves to discredit council members and staff at a rival radio station. The Authority ordered the radio station to broadcast a statement and also to pay costs to the Crown of $2,500.

Upheld: Fairness
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Law and Order, Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration

Orders: Broadcast of statement, $2,500 costs to Crown

Decisions
AB and CD and Access Community Radio Inc - 2013-005
2013-005

During the heavy metal radio programme, House of Noizz on Planet FM, the host made derogatory comments about “an ex-member of the family”, the mother of his named nephew. The Authority upheld complaints that this was unfair, as the host abused his position by making comments that were insulting and abusive to the complainant, and the complainant had made repeated attempts to stop the content being broadcast. The Authority determined that the privacy and good taste and decency standards were not breached, however. The host’s comments were opinion, not private facts, and would not have offended or distressed most listeners. The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Fairness
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Privacy, Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming

No Order

Decisions
Moore and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2012-107
2012-107

An item on Fair Go, broadcast on TV One, included an interview with a group of Christchurch women who wanted to cancel their gym contracts due to temporary closure or relocation of premises following the February 2011 earthquake. The item’s focus was on two gyms in Christchurch and whether they were within their rights to enforce the contracts or were being unreasonable. The Authority upheld the complaint that the item breached the fairness and accuracy standards: it contained comments from two women which suggested their issues related solely to relocation, that the complainant’s gym refused to refund them and that they would be significantly out of pocket, but it omitted important information about the women’s individual circumstances relating to the contracts, creating a misleading impression which was not mitigated by the opportunity given to the complainant to respond. The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

No Order

Decisions
Otago Casinos Ltd and The Radio Network Ltd - 2013-004
2013-004

During the Farming Show, broadcast on NewstalkZB, the host told a short anecdote about his recent experience at a bar in Queenstown, claiming he was refused service after having a “couple of beers” and commenting that it was “poor form” on the part of the bar. The Authority upheld the complaint that this breached the fairness standard: the host’s comments were inappropriate, and he abused his position by airing a personal grievance and naming the bar on air in retaliation, which had the potential to detrimentally affect the complainant’s business and commercial interests. The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Fairness

No Order

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

An item on Checkpoint reported that an Anglican Minister had been suspended for removing children from a youth camp to protect them from a man he believed was a sexual predator. The Authority upheld the complaint that the church and the Bishop had been treated unfairly: the broadcaster did not have a sufficient foundation for broadcasting such serious allegations and did not provide any corroborating evidence, and though the church was provided with a fair opportunity to comment, the item failed to adequately present their response. The Authority did not agree that the item breached the controversial issues and accuracy standards: it did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance and the Authority was not in a position to determine whether the impression of the alleged offending was misleading. The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Fairness
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy

No Order

Decisions
Whyte and Televison New Zealand Ltd - 2012-070
2012-070

A One News item reported on a “skimming” scheme in which the accused allegedly “fleeced money from customers who used eftpos machines inside at least one Auckland business”. The item referred to and showed footage of the Brooklyn Bar in Auckland where, according to one customer, he had had his card “skimmed”. The Authority upheld the complaint that this breached the accuracy and fairness standards: the item wrongly singled out and identified the Brooklyn Bar as having been targeted by the fraud, which created the impression the business was unsafe; the complainant was not provided with a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment and correct the information; and the broadcaster failed to make proper inquiries. The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

No Order

Decisions
Ashton and Payne and Māori Television - 2012-054
2012-054

An item on Te Kāea, broadcast on Māori Television, reported on an Anglican deacon who was allegedly stood down after making a complaint about a man he alleged had been the subject of a sexual abuse inquiry. The Authority upheld the complaint that this breached the accuracy and fairness standards: it is not the Authority's role to determine the nature of the the alleged sexual abuse and its portrayal in the item; the item omitted other reasons for the deacon's suspension, which was misleading; the item was unfair to the church and the Bishop because the broadcaster did not have a sufficient foundation for broadcasting serious allegations and did not appear to take any steps to corroborate the essential facts of the broadcast; and given the seriousness of the allegations, the church was not provided with a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment. The Authority did not agree that the item breached the controversial issues standard as it did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance.
The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues

No Order

Decisions
FS and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2012-036
2012-036

A re-broadcast of an episode of the reality TV series The Inspectors showed an Environmental Health Officer carrying out a routine spot check at a Dunedin fish and chip shop and making critical comments about the state of the premises, downgrading it from a ‘B’ to a ‘D’. The inspection took place in 2009 and the programme was first broadcast on TV One in 2010. The complaint was about the latest broadcast in January 2012. The Authority upheld the complaint that this broadcast breached the privacy and fairness standards: the shop owner was identifiable even though his face was pixellated; any consent given was not informed and did not extend to the broadcast of the footage three years after filming; there was a high level of public interest in the footage at the time of filming but not three years later; and it was fundamentally unfair to broadcast footage three years after filming – the disclaimer at the start of the programme was not sufficient to mitigate the unfairness in this respect.

The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the programme breached the accuracy standard as it did not contain any material inaccuracies. The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Privacy, Fairness
Not Upheld: Accuracy

No Order

Decisions
Blanch and Shapiro and RadioWorks Ltd - 2012-072
2012-072

During the Willie and JT Show on Radio Live the hosts discussed the recent sentencing of the ‘Urewera Four’, comparing their treatment to that of the complainant who was discharged without conviction after being found guilty of similar charges. The complainant phoned in to the programme and explained the background to his case but after the phone call had finished the hosts called him a “psychopath” and “sociopath” and compared him to “Hannibal Lecter”. The Authority upheld the complaint that this breached the fairness standard: the hosts’ comments amounted to personal abuse and the complainant was unable to defend himself as the phone call had ended. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the comments breached the controversial issues standard: though the broad focus of the item was a controversial issue of public importance, the item did not amount to a “discussion” of that issue but presented the hosts’ opinions; and the broadcaster had made reasonable efforts, and given reasonable opportunities, to present significant viewpoints, by allowing the complainant on air.   
The Authority made no order.

Upheld: Fairness
Not Upheld: Privacy, Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming

No Order

Decisions
Batchelor and RadioWorks Ltd - 2012-058
2012-058

During Michael Laws Talkback, broadcast on Radio Live, the host interviewed the complainant, a spokesperson for the American Pit Bull Terrier Association. The host accused her of misquoting statistics and making untrue statements; he made comments such as “you’re just as bad as your dogs” and, “can you wear a muzzle”. The Authority held that this was a serious breach of the fairness standard and the action taken by the broadcaster, in upholding only part of the fairness complaint, was insufficient. The Authority did not uphold the accuracy complaint since the host did not make unqualified statements of fact.
The Authority ordered the broadcast of a statement, including an apology to the complainant.

Upheld: Fairness and Action Taken
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration, Responsible Programming

Order: Broadcast of statement, including apology to complainant

Decisions
Hodson and TVWorks Ltd - 2012-012
2012-012

Campbell Live reported on a woman who, after she miscarried, unsuccessfully sought a refund for baby items purchased from the complainant’s business. The reporter door-stepped the complainant and her co-owner, and footage of this was broadcast. The Authority upheld that the broadcast breached the fairness, accuracy and privacy standards. No previous attempts had been made to obtain comment before door-stepping the shop owners; covert filming and recording of the conversation meant that the owners were not properly informed of the nature of their participation; the owners specifically stated that they did not want to be filmed or recorded; and the tone of programme was negative towards the owners and their position was not adequately presented. The owners were identifiable, and the item disclosed private facts. The Authority ordered payment of $500 to the complainant for breach of privacy and payment of $750 legal costs to the complainant.

Upheld: Privacy, Fairness, Accuracy

Order: $500 compensation to complainant for breach of privacy, $750 legal costs to complainant

Decisions
George and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2011-132
2011-132

A TV One documentary entitled A Rotten Shame investigated New Zealand’s leaky homes crisis and sought to expose systematic failures in the building industry that had led to the crisis. The presenter door-stepped a building inspector responsible for inspecting a house eleven years earlier, which had since developed serious problems and had to be demolished. A portion of this interview was included in the programme. The building inspector complained that this breached the controversial issues, accuracy and fairness standards. The Authority held that the action taken by the broadcaster in upholding the door-stepping aspect of the fairness complaint was insufficient. The Authority did not uphold any other part of the complaint: the item focused on systematic failures which led to the leaky homes crisis rather than on the complainant, it included the complainant’s viewpoint, and it did not create a misleading impression about the complainant’s culpability. The Authority ordered TVNZ to pay $500 towards the complainant’s legal costs.

Upheld: Fairness (Action Taken)
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Fairness

Order: $500 costs to complainant

Decisions
Noble and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2011-117
2011-117

An episode of the reality TV series Police Ten 7 reported on an alleged assault and robbery at a supermarket car park in Wellington. The police interviewed the victim, a man with cerebral palsy and consequent speech impairment. The voiceover made comments questioning the veracity of the victim’s story and the broadcast included two shots of his footwear, a pair of women’s high heels. The Authority upheld the fairness complaint: the man was not adequately informed of the nature of the programme and of his participation, and there was insufficient public interest to justify broadcasting the footage without first informing him. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the programme breached the privacy, accuracy, and discrimination and denigration standards: the man was identifiable but no private facts were disclosed and filming was in a public place; the commentary reflected the unusual circumstances and genuine views of the police; and the discrimination and denigration standard does not apply to individuals and the broadcast did not encourage the denigration of, or discrimination against, a section of the community. The Authority made no order.

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

No Order

Decisions
Wang and TVWorks Ltd - 2011-133
2011-133

Campbell Live featured a story about a tenant whose family allegedly suffered health problems as a result of living on a property that contained traces of methamphetamine. The Authority upheld the complaint that the item breached the accuracy and fairness standards: it overstated evidence, creating the impression that a ‘P’ lab had existed when the contamination was marginal and could have been caused by smoking, and it failed to include a report which found no trace of methamphetamine. The misleading impression as to the source, location and quantity of methamphetamine contamination, as well as the implication the complainant had done nothing to remediate the problem, resulted in an unfairly negative representation of the complainant, and the complainant’s comments as included were insufficient to counterbalance the damaging implications made about him. The Authority did not uphold the complaint about discrimination and denigration, as the standard does not apply to individuals. The Authority ordered TV3 to pay $1,400 towards the complainant’s legal costs.

Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration
|
Order: $1,400 costs to complainant

Decisions
JS and TVWorks Ltd - 2011-122
2011-122

An item on Campbell Live featured two reporters dressed in full burqas using hidden cameras to film the public’s reaction. It included footage of a woman refusing the reporters entry to her shop and questioning their style of dress. The footage was rebroadcast on 3 News and The Jono Project. The programmes made negative comments about the woman’s behaviour. The woman in the footage complained that this breached the privacy, fairness and accuracy standards. The Authority upheld the fairness complaint: the footage was obtained through misrepresentation and the complainant was not informed of the nature of her participation, and the complainant should have been given an opportunity to respond to the negative portrayal of her in the programmes. The Authority did not uphold the privacy and accuracy complaints: the broadcasts did not disclose any private facts and the filming occurred in a public place; the 3 News and Campbell Live items would not have misled viewers into believing the reporters were genuine Muslims, while The Jono Project was not a factual programme to which the standard applied. The Authority ordered TVWorks Ltd to pay $2,000 costs to the Crown.

Upheld: Fairness
Not Upheld: Privacy, Accuracy

Order: $2,000 costs to Crown

Decisions
MQ and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2011-033
2011-033

Police. Contained footage of complainant from 1990s being arrested and taken to police station to detox after solvent abuse. Upheld (privacy and fairness). Orders ($1,000 costs to complainant for breach of privacy, $1,000 costs to Crown).

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