A segment on Worldwatch was introduced with the headline: ‘A provocative act by America in the South China Sea’. The item later went on to explain, ‘China’s issued a terse statement aimed at the United States after an American destroyer sailed close to an artificial island in the disputed area of the South China Sea. China said the move was illegal and threatened its sovereignty’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the introduction to the item was misleading and unfair because it implied that the US was responsible for the escalation of tensions in the South China Sea when in fact China was acting provocatively. Reasonable listeners hearing the item as a whole would have understood the context in which the word ‘provocative’ was used and would not have been misled.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
Morning Report contained two items about the Government’s proposal for a specific criminal charge for family violence. A number of family violence experts were interviewed, and the introduction to one of the items stated that ‘14 women, six men and 10 children’ are killed by family violence annually. The Authority upheld a complaint that this statistic was inaccurate because the broadcaster’s source was significantly outdated, and it was part of the introduction which framed the discussion. However, the Authority did not uphold the aspect of the accuracy complaint that the items were misleading because they implied that men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators and women almost always victims of family violence. Additionally, the gender breakdown of victims and perpetrators of family violence was not the focus of the discussion in the items and so did not require the presentation of alternative views.
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues
An item on Checkpoint was introduced by the newsreader saying, ‘The Māori Education Trust has had to sell its only assets – its farms – putting at risk the grants it is required to make to Māori students’. The item went on to discuss the financial history of the Trust. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the introduction was inaccurate in that the sale of the farms had actually improved the financial position of the Trust. The financial ‘risk’ alleged by the broadcast is not a fact able to be objectively determined, and the Trust was able to put forward its position in the item, so listeners would not have been misled.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
An episode of Bullies, a three-part documentary series, discussed the issue of bullying in schools. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the documentary was unbalanced and misleading because it did not discuss the success of certain nationwide bullying prevention programmes. The documentary did discuss various anti-bullying programmes and was not otherwise misleading. Which anti-bullying initiatives to feature, and in what detail, was a matter of editorial discretion for the broadcaster.
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy
Turning Point featured a Christian sermon about the second coming of Jesus Christ. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the programme should have been classified PGR instead of G, and breached various other broadcasting standards. The programme did not contain any material which exceeded its G classification or which threatened broadcasting standards.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Fairness, Responsible Programming, Children’s Interests, Violence
An item on ONE News reported that an increasing number of beneficiaries were being banned from Work and Income offices due to heightened security as a result of the fatal shootings at a WINZ office in 2014. The reporter interviewed a beneficiary who said that this was ‘no surprise’ because dealing with WINZ is ‘frustrating’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the comments from the beneficiary were irresponsible and encouraged violence. The focus of the item was on security at WINZ offices and the beneficiary was relating his personal experience; the item did not advocate violence.
Not Upheld: Law and Order, Violence, Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Responsible Programming
In an item on Story, an actor approached four different real estate agencies (Ray White, LJ Hooker, Barfoot & Thompson and Harcourts) and asked agents to sell him properties for investment prior to auction and at a lower price, which it was alleged would be in breach of the industry code. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that one of the Story presenters had a conflict of interest because of her family connections to Barfoot & Thompson, which resulted in a breach of standards. The Authority is not in a position to determine whether such a conflict existed, but in any case, the alleged conflict did not manifest as a breach of the broadcasting standards nominated.
Not Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy, Controversial Issues
A promo for Face Off, a reality competition show in which the contestants are special effects make-up artists, screened during the animated movie Chicken Run. The Authority upheld a complaint that the promo breached standards of good taste and decency. The promo’s images of gory and wounded prosthetic body parts went beyond audience expectations of a G-rated family movie and were likely to distress child viewers. The Authority however did not agree that the images showed ‘violence’ or violent acts as envisaged by the violence standard.
Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
Not Upheld: Violence
Order: Section 16(4) $500 costs to the Crown
Paul Henry featured an interview with the president of the Police Association about assaults on police and the debate about whether to arm front-line police officers with tasers. Towards the start of the interview, Mr Henry said, ‘The numbers are truly extraordinary, aren’t they? Violent attacks on police officers are definitely going up’. The Authority upheld a complaint that this comment was inaccurate, as the number of assaults on police officers was actually decreasing. However, it did not uphold a complaint that the item was unbalanced, as MediaWorks made reasonable efforts to provide balance on the issue of taser carriage by police within the period of current interest.
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues
During The Chase, a British quiz show, the host introduced one of the trivia experts as ‘“The Governess” Anne Hegerty – big brain, big bo…ots?’ to audience laughter. The Authority declined to uphold a complaint that the host commented on Ms Hegerty’s ‘big boobs’ which was discriminatory against women, distasteful and unfair to Ms Hegerty, among other things. While the comment may have offended some viewers, it did not reach the threshold necessary to find a breach of broadcasting standards.
Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Good Taste and Decency, Fairness, Responsible Programming, Accuracy
During ONE News at Midday, TVNZ’s sports presenter reported the New Zealand women’s hockey team’s loss in a World League semi-final match. She said, ‘The one consolation, though – Australia hasn’t progressed either’. The Authority declined to uphold a complaint that this comment was ‘nasty’ and ‘spiteful’. It is common for sports reporting to refer to the long-standing trans-Tasman rivalry and most viewers would not have been offended in this context.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Controversial Issues, Responsible Programming
An item on 3 News discussed New Zealand’s efforts to remove the veto power held by permanent member states on the United Nations Security Council. Both the presenter and reporter referred to a recent example of Russia exercising its veto in relation to a proposed tribunal to investigate the crash of flight MH17. The Authority declined to uphold a complaint that the item was misleading and unbalanced because Russia in fact was supportive of investigating the MH17 tragedy and holding those responsible to account, but was not in favour of setting up a tribunal on the matter. The item was materially accurate and the reference to Russia’s exercise of the veto power did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance which triggered the need to present alternative views.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Controversial Issues, Law and Order, Fairness
A 3 News item reported on Labour Party leader Andrew Little’s response to questions about his party’s use of data allegedly showing the percentage of offshore Chinese home-buyers in Auckland. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item lacked balance because it was dominated by the political editor’s point of view. The item included balancing comment from both Mr Little and Labour Housing Spokesman Phil Twyford and it would have been clear to viewers that the political editor was giving his own robust commentary and analysis of the issue.
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues
An item on Seven Sharp featured the story of a terminally ill woman who is a long-standing voluntary euthanasia campaigner. The item also discussed the history of attempts to legalise voluntary euthanasia in New Zealand and overseas. The Authority upheld a complaint that the item lacked balance. The item did not solely approach voluntary euthanasia from the personal perspective of the interviewee. It included a wider discussion of the voluntary euthanasia debate and law reform that triggered the requirement for presentation of alternative views, which were not presented within the programme or within the period of current interest.
Upheld: Controversial Issues
3 News reported on a gun attack on a Tunisian beach resort, and showed amateur video footage of the event. The footage contained images of people shouting and running around in confusion, and gunshots and bomb blasts could be heard. The footage also showed the gunman lying in the street after he had been shot dead by police. The Authority upheld a complaint that this footage was disturbing and should have been preceded by a warning. While recognizing the high public interest in the story and the footage, viewers were not given a reasonable opportunity to exercise discretion because they were not adequately warned of its nature. The Authority did not make any order.
Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence
A promo for NCIS and NCIS: LA showed scenes of guns being fired, photos of a dead body and someone getting punched in the face, among other things. The Authority upheld a complaint that the broadcast did not adequately consider children’s interests. The content was not suitable for unsupervised child viewers, so the promo should have received a higher classification than G (for general audiences). On this basis the Authority found that the promo also breached the violence standard, as the broadcaster did not exercise adequate care and discretion when dealing with violent content.
Upheld: Children’s Interests, Violence
Order: Section 16(4) – $500 costs to the Crown
Morning Report covered a story on kauri swamp logs that were allegedly being illegally exported to China. It reported that the company Oravida was one of the ‘kauri wholesalers’ involved. RNZ upheld a complaint from Oravida’s director that the broadcast was unfair as comment was not sought from Oravida. RNZ had removed the audio and written pieces that referred to Oravida and its director from its website, and two days later in a subsequent broadcast briefly reported Oravida’s position that it had never been involved in illegal trading. The Authority upheld the complaint that the action taken by RNZ in upholding the fairness complaint was insufficient and that the broadcast was also inaccurate. The Authority did not make any order noting that a full correction and apology was broadcast after the referral of the matter to this Authority.
Upheld: Fairness (Action Taken), Accuracy
An item on 3 News discussed a leaked internal report which reviewed the Labour Party’s election strategy. Towards the conclusion of the item the reporter briefly referred to the recent installation of security doors between the Labour and National Party offices at a cost of $30,000. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the item lacked balance on this point. The brief reference to the installation of the doors did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue of public importance in the context of this item, which focused on the leaked Labour Party report – so the requirement to present alternative views was not triggered.
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues
Roger Morris complained that an alleged discussion on Worldwatch about the ‘Ukraine coup d’etat’ failed to mention a number of key facts, primarily about the United States’ involvement in the conflict. The Authority declined to determine the complaint as the broadcast identified by the complainant in his complaint did not feature any content about Ukraine.
Declined to Determine: Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Fairness, Responsible Programming
At the end of an episode of Seven Sharp, host Mike Hosking offered his views on the incident of Prime Minister John Key’s repeated pulling of a café waitress’ ponytail. He described the waitress’ motivations for speaking out as ‘selfish’ and ‘a puffed up self-involved pile of political bollocks’. The Authority upheld complaints that this was unfair to the waitress. While public figures can expect criticism and robust scrutiny, in the Authority’s view the waitress was not a public figure. The format of the ‘final word’ segment did not allow for a response from the waitress so she was unable to defend herself in this context. The Authority did not uphold the remainder of the complaints.
Not Upheld: Controversial Issues, Accuracy, Discrimination and Denigration