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Decisions
Jefferies and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-081 (24 November 2020)
2020-081

An episode of Seven Sharp included an item about a tornado and thunderstorm that occurred in New Zealand and an eye witness account from a resident. Considering the contextual factors and the nature of the programme, the Authority did not uphold a complaint that the language used breached the good taste and decency standard.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Purchase and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-064 (24 November 2020)
2020-064

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about the second part of a two-part documentary, Leaving Neverland, concerning sexual abuse allegations made by two men against Michael Jackson. The Authority took into account the nature of the programme, which was clearly presented from the perspectives of the two men featured and included responses to these and similar allegations, from Michael Jackson and his lawyers. In this context, the Authority found: the broadcast would not have caused widespread undue offence or distress as contemplated under the good taste and decency standard; the balance standard did not apply as the broadcast did not address a ‘controversial issue of public importance’ for New Zealand viewers; the programme was unlikely to mislead viewers and did not breach the accuracy standard; and the fairness and discrimination and denigration standards did not apply.

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

Decisions
Hargreaves and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2020-044B (14 October 2020)
2020-044B

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the host’s language and approach during an interview broadcast on Magic Afternoons with Sean Plunket. Mr Plunket interviewed the Chief Executive of Universities New Zealand about the charging of holding fees for accommodation at university halls of residence during the COVID-19 lockdown period. During the interview Mr Plunket appeared increasingly frustrated and hung up on the interviewee after using the phrase, ‘Jesus Christ’. Noting it has previously determined that the use of variations of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ’ as exclamations or expressions of frustration or surprise did not threaten community standards, the Authority did not find any breach of the good taste and decency standard in this case. It also found that, in the context of robust questioning on a topic of significant public interest, Mr Plunket’s manner and approach, although it was at times rude and overly forceful, did not reach the threshold for finding a breach of the good taste and decency standard or justifying regulatory intervention.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
O'Brien and Mediaworks - 2020-062 (28 September 2020)
2020-062

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that visually displaying the word ‘dickhead’ onscreen during a Newshub item breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority considered that in the context of the item, which canvassed public opinion towards Simon Bridges, the visual depiction of the word ‘dickhead’ would not have caused widespread undue offence, or distress, and would not have undermined widely shared community values.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Francis and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-055 (28 September 2020)
2020-055

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

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that use of the word ‘fuck’ in an episode of My Life is Murder, broadcast after 8.35pm without an ‘L’ advisory for offensive language, breached the good taste and decency standard. 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.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Beach and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-048 (14 September 2020)
2020-048

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the reading of an adaptation of the novel My Name Was Judas by author C.K. Stead was offensive to Christians in breach of the good taste and decency, and discrimination and denigration standards. The Authority did not consider that the broadcast’s content was likely to cause widespread undue offence or distress or undermine widely shared community standards and it did not reach the high threshold necessary for finding that it encouraged the denigration of, or discrimination against, Christians as a section of the community. The Authority also found that the balance standard did not apply as the programme was not a news, current affairs or factual programme.

Not upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Balance.

Decisions
Harvey and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-023 (24 August 2020)
2020-023

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the use of the term ‘bugger’ by weather presenter Dan Corbett during a broadcast of Seven Sharp. The Authority considered the term constituted low level coarse language which would not have offended a significant number of listeners in the context of the broadcast.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Nixey and NZME Radio Ltd - 2020-037 (24 August 2020)
2020-037

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a satirical segment would have been offensive to Christians. The segment was an imagined promo for reality show The Block, set in Jerusalem and featured contestants who shared the names of biblical figures, including Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Thomas and Judas. The promo was broadcast on Good Friday. The Authority did not consider the broadcast’s content would have unduly offended or distressed the general audience, and it did not reach the high threshold necessary for finding it encouraged the denigration of, or discrimination against, Christians as a section of the community. The broadcast did not cause actual or potential harm at a level which justified limiting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

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
Crow and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-021 (21 July 2020)
2020-021

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the movie Fifty Shades Darker was in breach of standards because it glorified a manipulative and abusive relationship. The Authority found viewers were sufficiently informed about the nature of the content to enable them to manage their own viewing. The movie did not contain any content that would go beyond audience expectations for the classification and timeband, especially given the well-publicised nature of the movie. The movie did not encourage violent or law-breaking activity. Finally, the Authority also found that people who engage in BDSM (a sexual practice that involves the use of physical control, psychological power, or pain) are not a recognised group for the purposes of the discrimination and denigration standard.

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

Decisions
Judge and Television New Zealand - 2020-27 (21 July 2020)
2020-027

An item on Seven Sharp featured a community hunting event for children under the age of 16. The item included footage of children using firearms, children carrying dead animals, and animal carcasses hanging by their hind legs. Taking into account the relevant contextual factors including the programme’s target audience and audience expectations, the Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item breached the good taste and decency, children’s interests and violence standards. The Authority noted that the item did not depict animals dying or being killed, and the content was clearly signposted by the presenters.

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

Decisions
Smith and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2020-016 (14 July 2020)
2020-016

The Authority did not uphold a complaint under the good taste and decency standard about the use of the phrase ‘child pornography’ in a Newshub item reporting on the arrest of Sir Ron Brierley. The complaint was that the item should have instead referred to child sexual exploitation, as ‘pornography’ infers consent and normalises a terrible practice. The Authority acknowledged the complainant’s concerns about the use of appropriate terminology with regard to very serious criminal conduct against children, and noted that what is appropriate terminology is contested internationally among authorities and global agencies. The Authority also consulted the Digital Safety Team at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), which deals with issues including countering child sexual exploitation. DIA advised that it does not use the phrase ‘child pornography’ and considers the term ‘child sexual abuse material’ most accurately describes the illegal material involving children. Taking into account the wider context of the news broadcast, including the high public interest in the item, the Authority found that the single use of the phrase complained about did not breach broadcasting standards or justify regulatory intervention. However the Authority encouraged broadcasters to note the issues highlighted in this decision and exercise judgement when selecting appropriate terminology to refer to this type of serious criminal conduct.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Haapamaki & Ball and Sky Network Television Ltd - 2020-015
2020-015

The Authority has not upheld two complaints that a promo for the ASB Women’s Classic tennis competition was in breach of the good taste and decency and discrimination and denigration standards of the Pay Television Code of Broadcasting Practice. The promo depicted a tennis player’s skirt flying up in a brief action shot of her hitting the ball. While acknowledging the potential effect of repeatedly viewing this clip, the Authority found that ultimately the clip was not likely to undermine current norms of good taste and decency and did not contain the high level of condemnation or malice necessary to find a breach of the discrimination and denigration standard. The broadcaster provided an explanation for the selection of the clip and the Authority was satisfied that the promo would not cause harm at a level justifying regulatory intervention.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Martin and Mediaworks Television Ltd - 2020-002 (29 June 2020)
2020-002

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Mark Richardson’s response to a gift from a guest on The AM Show breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. Noting contextual factors, including audience expectations of the programme and of Mr Richardson, the Authority did not consider that Mr Richardson’s comments were likely to cause widespread undue offence or distress, undermine widely shared community standards or adversely affect children. The Authority also did not uphold a complaint that a discussion about beer brands breached the alcohol standard. While the Authority found that the positive comments regarding Peroni could be regarded as promotion of the Peroni brand, the Authority considered that any promotion of alcohol was socially responsible in the context.

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

Decisions
McMurchy and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-014 (29 June 2020)
2020-014

The Authority did not uphold a complaint under the good taste and decency standard about the use of coarse language in the American action comedy film Beverly Hills Cop. Taking into account relevant contextual factors, including the AO classification, time of broadcast at 8.30pm during adult viewing time, clear warning for frequent use of coarse language, and audience expectations of the film and TVNZ DUKE, the Authority was satisfied the broadcaster gave viewers sufficient information to regulate their own, and their children’s, viewing. In the context, the broadcast did not threaten community standards of good taste and decency and the broadcaster adequately enabled child viewers to be protected from potentially unsuitable content.

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

Decisions
Mould and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2020-017 (29 June 2020)
2020-017

The Authority did not uphold a complaint under the good taste and decency standard about a brief segment on The Project displaying an image of a scented candle developed by celebrity Gwyneth Paltrow. The complaint was that the name of the candle was disgusting and vile and unnecessary to report on. The Authority acknowledged that this content could have been better signposted for viewers, and some may have been surprised by it and found it distasteful. However reporting the name of the candle in itself did not threaten standards of good taste and decency at a level which warranted limiting freedom of expression, taking into account the wider context of the broadcast. The segment reported on a real product available for sale and the item viewed in its entirety was consistent with audience expectations of The Project and its typical style of presentation and humour.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Conn and Television New Zealand - 2020-011 (16 June 2020)
2020-011

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the usage of the word ‘root’ in a Seven Sharp item breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The Authority took into account the relevant contextual factors including the nature of the discussion, the nature of the programme and the audience expectations of the programme. The Authority did not consider that the use of the word threatened community norms of good taste and decency, or that any potential harm justified restricting the right to freedom of expression.

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

Decisions
O'Leary and New Zealand Media Entertainment Ltd - 2020-009 (16 June 2020)
2020-009

A complaint regarding a comment made by radio host Chris Lynch in relation to a news report that Whakaari was going to receive a blessing in the wake of the fatal volcanic eruption has not been upheld. The Authority found that considering the relevant contextual factors, Mr Lynch’s comment ‘because that’s going to change everything isn’t it?’ was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress. The Authority also noted that, while the comment had the potential to offend some listeners, comments will not breach the discrimination and denigration standard simply because they are critical of a particular group, because they offend people, or because they are rude.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Eastman and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2019-111 (9 June 2020)
2019-111

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an episode of Yo-Kai Watch was in breach of the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. It found that, while the episode contained negative stereotypes that may not be appropriate for children, and which some parents or caregivers may not approve of, the adult themes and sexual innuendos within the episode were not likely to be understood by child viewers, and the potential harm did not reach the level justifying regulatory intervention.

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

Decisions
HS and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2019-112 (27 May 2020)
2019-112

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the action taken by MediaWorks in response to a breach of the fairness standard during a segment of Jay-Jay, Flynny and Jase Driving You Home was insufficient. The segment featured host Flynny telling a story about an ‘embalmer’ who had embalmed their cat after it passed away. The Authority agreed that the complainant was unfairly treated by the broadcaster in breach of the fairness standard. However, the Authority found the action taken by the broadcaster, which included a direct apology to the complainant, and counselling of the hosts concerned, was proportionate to the breach. The Authority also found that the broadcast was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress and that the complainant’s privacy was not breached as they were not identifiable in the broadcast.

Not Upheld: Fairness (Action Taken), Good Taste and Decency, Privacy

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