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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
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
Moir and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-016 (29 June 2021)
2021-016

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about offensive language on the broadcast of the Best Foods Christmas Comedy Gala. Comedy is a valuable form of expression and entertainment and the broadcast was adequately signposted with a written and verbal warning, and clearly visible audience advisories at the end of each ad-break.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Catto and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-178 (22 June 2021)
2020-178

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the use of food in an episode of Taskmaster NZ, a game show in which comedians are tasked with completing strange and whacky challenges. The complaint was that the wastage of food and playing with food was offensive and disrespected tikanga. The Authority found in the context of a game show intended to be entertaining and humorous, the content did not undermine community standards or cause harm that justified limiting the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression. The Authority noted that the broadcaster acknowledged the complainant’s concerns relating to tikanga and had discussed this with its content team.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Egan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-002 (2 June 2021)
2021-002

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview on Newshub Nation, featuring electrical engineer and Pike River Mine researcher, Richard Healey. Mr Healey commented on his claims of ‘new crucial evidence’ the miners could have survived the explosions and of the existence of a pipeline which could be used to recover more evidence. The complaint alleged Mr Healey’s claims were speculative and unsupported by evidence, were not challenged by the host and caused emotional harm to the victims’ families. The Authority acknowledged the sensitivity of the matters discussed, which also carried a high degree of public interest. It found the broadcast clearly presented Mr Healey’s claims as one theory and from a particular perspective. The wide range of information and coverage available over a long period of time since the original events reduced any risk of viewers being misled or significantly misinformed. The Authority also found, in the context, the interview did not undermine community standards of taste and decency.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
McDonald and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-004 (25 May 2021)
2021-004

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about a promo for Taranaki Hard. The Authority found the item was within audience expectations for a promo shown during an unclassified news programme. It did not actively promote or glamorise illegal behaviour nor was it likely to cause widespread undue offence or cause harm to children watching.

Not Upheld: Law and Order, Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests

Decisions
McCaughan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-165 (25 May 2021)
2020-165

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the phrase ‘pissed off’ in the opening to a news item breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The phrase was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or cause specific harm to a child audience.

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

Decisions
Ward and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-168 (25 May 2021)
2020-168

Warning: This decision contains language that some readers may find offensive

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an episode of Paramedics, which twice played footage of a young man suffering an allergic reaction exclaiming ‘Fuck, I can’t breathe’, with the audio censored so the word was partially silenced, and the subtitles uncensored. The episode aired during an M classification time band, at 7.30pm, and was preceded by a warning which stated ‘This programme is rated M. It contains coarse language.’ The ‘ML’ rating was also broadcast after each advertisement break, with the ‘L’ advisory symbol indicating ‘language may offend’. In the context, the language used would not have caused widespread undue offence or distress, and was not beyond what viewers would have reasonably expected from the programme.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Wilton and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-001 (25 May 2021)
2021-001

Warning: This decision contains language that some readers may find offensive.

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that use of the phrase ‘thank fucking Christ’ in an interview segment during the Aotearoa Music Awards breached the good taste and decency standard. In the context, particularly noting the timing of the broadcast, pre-broadcast warnings and public interest in the relevant segment, the Authority considered the programme unlikely to cause widespread undue offence, or distress, or to undermine widely shared community standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Roberts and SKY Network Television Ltd - 2020-155 (13 May 2021)
2020-155

Warning: This decision contains language that some readers may find offensive.

The Authority has upheld a complaint that the frequent use of ‘fuck’ (and variations) during A Life on the Road breached the good taste and decency standard. The episode featured Brian Johnson of AC/DC talking to Lars Ulrich of Metallica about touring in the early 90s, along with footage from the tours and interviews with Metallica crew and fans. It was broadcast at 12pm with a ‘PGL’ rating (Parental Guidance; language may offend). The Authority found this did not provide sufficient reliable information to signpost the level and frequency of language in the programme and did not give the audience an adequate opportunity to exercise choice and control – meaning they were more likely to be surprised and offended by the content. The Authority found an ‘M’ rating and more detailed onscreen warning, for example for ‘frequent coarse language’, would have been more appropriate for the content and more consistent with the requirements of the Code.

Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

No Order

Decisions
Singh and Radio Virsa - 2020-124 (13 May 2021)
2020-124

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment of Punjabi talkback programme Dasam Granth Da Sach. During the programme the host made comments about a well-known female Sikh preacher, including that she should marry a Taksali (traditionally trained Sikh) rather than a Jāgaruka (enlightened Sikh), because she supports the ideology of the former, and because husbands ‘in our society’ resort to beating when offended by their wives. The host also used words that can carry sexual connotations but, in the specific context of the broadcast, were unlikely to do so. The Authority acknowledged the potentially offensive nature of the comments to some people, but found overall the potential harm arising was not at a level justifying regulatory intervention or restriction of the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression on this occasion.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Discrimination and Denigration, Violence, Privacy, Fairness

Decisions
Poll and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-175 (28 April 2021)
2020-175

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that language used in Million Dollar Listing LA breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The programme was rated G and broadcast at 2.20pm on a Sunday. In the context, and given most of the words were censored and did not appear until the final five minutes of the 55-minute programme, overall it was unlikely to likely to cause widespread undue offence or distress, or undermine widely shared community standards. It was also unlikely to alarm or distress any children who were watching. The audible words did not go beyond what viewers would reasonably expect from the programme.

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

Decisions
Morton and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-150 (20 April 2021)
2020-150

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a question during a social welfare debate on Morning Report suggesting an ACT Party policy ‘smacks of eugenics’. In the context it was not outside audience expectations for Morning Report and political debate. It would not have caused widespread offence. The complaint did not raise any issues under the balance standard. The question was comment and analysis, to which the accuracy standard does not apply. Ms McKee and the ACT Party were treated fairly in the context of the debate.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Balance, Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Te Whata and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2020-141 (31 March 2021)
2020-141

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about comments by Sean Plunket on his talkback programme regarding Christians and Christianity. While Mr Plunket made highly critical comments and expressed scepticism, this was not beyond audience expectations for a robust, opinionated programme and was unlikely to cause widespread offence. Equally, the comments were unlikely to encourage the discrimination or denigration of Christians. The Authority found callers in to the programme were treated fairly by Mr Plunket, given they had willingly phoned in to provide views on a discussion in which Mr Plunket was criticising the Christian faith, and were given the opportunity to express their own views. The remaining standards did not apply.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness, Violence, Accuracy, Balance

Decisions
Markula and Mediaworks Radio Ltd - 2020-144 (31 March 2021)
2020-144

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview between Magic Talk host Ryan Bridges and World Health Organisation Special Envoy Dr David Nabarro. The complainant argued the interview contained inaccurate information about Sweden’s approach to COVID-19 and mask wearing, and inaccurately suggested Dr Nabarro advocated New Zealand adopt Sweden’s approach. The Authority found the relevant statements were comment, analysis or opinion to which the accuracy standard does not apply. It also concluded they were not materially inaccurate or misleading in the context of the interview. The standards of good taste and decency, balance and fairness either did not apply or were not breached.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Good Taste and Decency, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Smith and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-145 (31 March 2021)
2020-145

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an episode of Shortland Street that included scenes of a man injecting another against his will, removing one of his organs, then drinking alcohol from a glass with a bloodied glove. In the context, including the programme’s nature, classification and intended audience, the Authority found the episode was unlikely to have caused widespread undue offence or distress, or undue harm to child viewers.

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

Decisions
Swatch and Radio Virsa - 2020-012 / 2020-059 (31 March 2021)
2020-012 / 2020-059

The Authority declined to determine two complaints as they did not raise any issues of broadcasting standards that warrant a determination.

Decline to determine (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 – in all the circumstances): Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy

Decisions
Allison and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-142 (16 March 2021)
2020-124

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that use of the term ‘wanker’ was inappropriate and offensive in breach of the good taste and decency standard. Taking into account the relevant contextual factors, the use of the term was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence, or undermine widely shared community standards.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
McKane and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-118 (9 March 2021)
2020-118

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the use of exclamations including ‘oh my God’, ‘holy crap’ and ‘bloody’ in an episode of House Rules, broadcast at 7.30pm, breached the good taste and decency standard. In this context, the language used would not have caused audiences undue offence or harm and it was not beyond what viewers would reasonably expect from the programme.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
McInroe and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-128 (9 March 2021)
2020-128

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a news report covering the US Democratic Convention breached standards by referring to then US President Donald Trump as ‘Trump’ or ‘Donald Trump’ rather than with the title ‘President’. The broadcast was fair to Mr Trump, considering his position and profile as a politician and public figure. It was not misleading to refer to Mr Trump as ‘Donald Trump’ and the report was unlikely to cause widespread offence. The discrimination and denigration standard did not apply to Mr Trump as an individual.

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

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