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Decisions
Jones and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2023-006 (12 April 2023)
2023-006

The Authority declined to determine a complaint alleging an item on AM breached the offensive and disturbing content and children’s interest standards. The broadcast included the phrase ‘get the bloody hell out of here’. In light of the Authority’s guidance on complaints that are unlikely to succeed and previous decisions on low-level offensive language, the Authority considered it appropriate to decline to determine the complaint.   Declined to determine: Offensive and Disturbing Content, Children’s Interests (section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989)...

Decisions
Dobson, Tocker, Takitimu, & Bate and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-107 (20 December 2022 )
2022-107

The Authority has not upheld complaints under the accuracy, balance and fairness standards from several complainants about a broadcast of AM on 1 September 2022. The morning news broadcast contained two segments about a recent ‘backtrack’ by the Government on a proposal to apply GST to management services supplied to managed funds (including KiwiSaver). During the first segment, this was described as ‘a tax on your retirement savings’. In the second segment, the specifics of the proposed tax were clarified: ‘technically it wasn't a tax on KiwiSaver funds, it was a tax on the fees applied to KiwiSaver funds’. The Authority found the alleged inaccuracy in the first segment was immaterial to the audience’s understanding of the broadcast as a whole, and mitigated by the second segment where a more detailed description of the proposal was provided....

Decisions
GE Free NZ in Food & Environment Inc and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2024-007 (20 March 2024)
2024-007

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a segment on AM, discussing the possible deregulation of GMOs, breached the balance and accuracy standards of the Code of Broadcasting Standards in New Zealand. The segment included two interviews with proponents for deregulation, which the complainant considered to be unbalanced, resulting in the audience being misled. The Authority did not uphold the balance complaint, finding the segment adequately acknowledged the existence of other perspectives, and that the topic had a long history of controversy, meaning the audience could reasonably be expected to be aware of different perspectives. The Authority did not uphold the accuracy complaint, finding the introduction of one of the interviewees was not misleading. Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance...

Decisions
Solanki and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2023-063 (18 October 2023)
2023-063

The Authority has not upheld a complaint a discussion between the hosts of AM and an interview with Prime Minister Chris Hipkins breached multiple standards for including statements from the hosts questioning the usefulness and purpose of Government inquiries into various sectors. The Authority found the balance and fairness standards were not breached as the interview with Hipkins provided an alternative viewpoint, and allowed Hipkins to comment on the Government’s reasoning for the inquiry. The accuracy standard did not apply, as the comments were analysis, commentary and opinion, and the discrimination and denigration, and offensive and disturbing content standards either were not breached or did not apply. Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Fairness, Offensive and Disturbing Content, Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Chilton & New Zealand Greyhound Racing Association Inc and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-134 (7 March 2023)
2022-134

The Authority has not upheld complaints a segment on AM interviewing the SPCA’s Science Officer, Dr Alison Vaughan, breached the balance, accuracy and fairness standards. Dr Vaughan discussed the organisation’s desire to end commercial greyhound racing in New Zealand and invited viewers to contact the Minister of Racing to support that cause. The complainants considered the segment presented only one perspective on the issue and did not attempt to balance it with other perspectives. The Authority found the segment was clearly introduced as presenting a particular perspective, and other perspectives would have been known to viewers given the issue had long-standing interest in NZ. The segment was also materially accurate, or otherwise reflecting Dr Vaughan’s analysis, comment or opinion, to which the accuracy standard does not apply. The fairness standard did not apply as no organisation was referred to in the broadcast. Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Fairness...

Decisions
Girardin and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2023-039 (9 August 2023)
2023-039

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on AM concerning the imminent arrival to Aotearoa New Zealand of Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull, also known as Posie Parker, breached broadcasting standards. The complainant alleged the broadcast was unfair, inaccurate and denigrated Parker by describing her as ‘anti-trans’, that such a description ‘could well increase the likelihood of violent antisocial protests’ at her events, and that the item was also unbalanced. The Authority found that, given Parker’s views, the description ‘anti-trans activist’ was not unfair given its literal accuracy, and the brief item did not otherwise breach broadcasting standards. Not Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy, Promotion of Illegal or Antisocial Behaviour, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Buchanan and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-087 (26 October 2022)
2022-087

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the accuracy standard in relation to an interview on AM with Dr Russell Norman about agricultural emissions. The complainant alleged Dr Norman’s statements concerning dairy cow numbers, the herd getting larger, and the amount of effluent produced by cows were inaccurate. The Authority found two of the statements were materially accurate and would not have misled the audience, and the third was analysis, comment or opinion to which the accuracy standard does not apply. Not Upheld: Accuracy...

Decisions
Udy and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-077 (19 October 2022)
2022-077

The Authority has not upheld a complaint regarding comments made by Louise Wallace about overweight people, during a panel discussion on AM. The complaint was that the comments were in extremely bad taste and denigrating and discriminatory towards ‘fat women’ in particular. The Authority accepted the comments clearly had the potential to offend. However, noting in particular that the programme hosts challenged Wallace’s comments and made countering remarks, the Authority concluded that the comments did not meet the high threshold for finding the broadcast caused harm at a level that justified regulatory intervention or restricting freedom of expression. Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration, Good Taste and Decency...

Decisions
Shields and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-046 (21 June 2022)
2022-046

The Authority has not upheld a complaint alleging an item on AM breached several standards including accuracy. The broadcast attributed several acts of violence against police, during the February–March 2022 protest and occupation of Parliament grounds, to protesters. The complainant stated there was no evidence the events occurred, and that there was no evidence the violence was caused by protesters. The complainant also submitted the broadcast implied a reporter was ‘manhandled’ on Parliament grounds when in fact she was on Lambton Quay. The Authority found the broadcast was not materially misleading and the broadcaster made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy. The fairness and discrimination and denigration standards did not apply. Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Tily and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-047 (2 August 2022)
2022-047

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that it was inappropriate to broadcast images of spiders due to viewers potentially having arachnophobia. The Authority found the images were unlikely to cause widespread undue offence, and the introduction to the item gave viewers who did not want to see spiders the opportunity to switch off. The programme information and discrimination and denigration standards did not apply. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Programme Information, Discrimination and Denigration....

Decisions
Huriwai and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-061 (2 August 2022)
2022-061

A segment on AM interviewed the complainant regarding his documentary, Milked, which focused on the environmental impact of the dairy industry. Following the interview, the presenter interviewed DairyNZ CEO, Dr Tim Mackle, on the same topic. The complainant stated the broadcast breached the fairness standard as he was not informed of Dr Mackle’s involvement and he was not given a right to respond following the interview. The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding the nature of the broadcast did not materially deviate from what was consented to. The Authority also found the interviews were conducted fairly and the audience would not have been left with a negative impression of the complainant. Not Upheld: Fairness...

Decisions
Dobson and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2022-140 (7 March 2023)
2022-140

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint alleging AM breached the accuracy and balance standards. The programme included an interview with Opposition Leader Christopher Luxon, where the presenter read Luxon a series of words the public associated with him. The host then asked Luxon’s opinion on the ‘some of the worst’ words the public had associated with Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern. The Authority considers the broadcaster adequately addressed the complaint in the first instance, and declines to determine the complaint on the basis it was trivial and did not warrant consideration. Declined to determine (section 11(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 –  trivial): Accuracy, Balance...

Decisions
Donaldson and Channel 9 Dunedin - 2000-100, 2000-101
2000-100–101

Complaint COW AM – offensive behaviour – offensive language – questions about sex life FindingsG2 – AO – 10. 00pm – student audience – risqué but no breach – no uphold This headnote does not form part of the decision. Summary COW AM is a programme broadcast on Channel 9 Dunedin. On 16 May, two young women and a man were asked whether they had had sex on the weekend and how it rated out of 10. They were also asked what position they liked for sex. The programme was broadcast at 10. 00pm. Mr J G Donaldson complained to Channel 9 Dunedin, the broadcaster, that the programme was "disgusting and immoral". He said he had seen the same sequence broadcast the following week on 22 May at 10. 00pm, and asked whether it was a regular occurrence....

Decisions
Donaldson and Channel 9 Dunedin - 2000-140
2000-140

ComplaintCOW AM – offensive behaviour – offensive language – questions about sex life FindingsStandard G2 – AO – 10. 00pm – explicit questions – context – uphold Cross-referenceDecision Nos: 2000-100–101 Order$250 costs to the Crown This headnote does not form part of the decision. Summary An episode of COW AM was broadcast on Channel 9 Dunedin on 29 May 2000. The programme included a sequence during which two young women and a man were questioned by the programme’s presenter about their recent sexual exploits. The programme was broadcast at around 10. 00pm. Mr J G Donaldson complained to Channel 9 Dunedin, the broadcaster, that he was "appalled" by the broadcast of what he called the "indecent interviews"....

Decisions
Reekie and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-017 (18 July 2019)
2019-017

During a segment on The AM Show, host Duncan Garner referred to an individual as a ‘woolly woofter’. A complaint that the use of this term breached broadcasting standards, as it was homophobic and offensive, was not upheld. The Authority found that, while some viewers may have found the term inappropriate or offensive, the use of the term was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or seriously violate community norms. In the context of the programme, upholding the complaint would unreasonably restrict the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Law and Order...

Decisions
Johnson and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2017-055 (18 December 2017)
2017-055

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]An episode of I Am Innocent focused on the story of Y, a science teacher, who was accused and charged with indecently assaulting a female student (‘X’) in 2012. The charges against Y were withdrawn around August-September 2013. The episode featured interviews with Y and others, all of whom spoke supportively about him. Ms Johnson complained that the broadcast breached broadcasting standards, including that comments made during the programme about X and her mother resulted in their unfair treatment. The Authority upheld this aspect of Ms Johnson’s complaint, finding that the programme created a negative impression of X and her mother....

Decisions
Kavanagh and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2019-001 (2 April 2019)
2019-001

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a segment on The AM Show, in which a booth designed to enable doctors to perform discrete testicle examinations was likened to a ‘confession booth’, breached the good taste and decency and discrimination and denigration standards. The Authority found that, in the context of the segment, the comparison was unlikely to undermine or violate widely shared community norms. It also did not reach the level of malice or nastiness necessary to denigrate a section of the community. The public health message in the broadcast was an important one and overall the Authority found that any potential for harm did not justify a restriction on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression....

Decisions
Reekie and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-033 (23 August 2019)
2019-033

During a segment of The AM Show, which discussed how different sections of the community had united in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks, host Duncan Garner said he’d like ‘the gangs’ to nominate a person to ‘look after’ the alleged attacker. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Mr Garner’s comment breached broadcasting standards. The Authority found, upon consideration of contextual factors, including the glib nature of the comment, that while it was discordant with the tone of the broadcast and may have caused offence to some, it did not go beyond audience expectations of Mr Garner or The AM Show. The Authority concluded that any restriction of the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression on this occasion would be unreasonable.   Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Violence, Law and Order...

Decisions
Dewhurst and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-109 (7 May 2020)
2019-109

A complaint that an episode of The AM Show breached the balance standard was not upheld. The episode featured multiple segments that addressed various climate change related issues including interviews with a Fonterra representative about its sustainable farming practices, an interview with sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke about their marine conservation initiative ‘Live Ocean’ and a panel discussion about the recently founded Sustainable New Zealand Party. The Authority found that while climate change issues are controversial issues of public importance, none of the segments amounted to unbalanced discussions for the purposes of the standard. Not Upheld: Balance...

Decisions
Reekie and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-018 (18 July 2019)
2019-018

A news segment on The AM Show about name suppression included a clip from an interview with former Attorney-General, Chris Finlayson QC, which had been broadcast live on air earlier in the programme. The clip from the interview played during the news item related to Mr Finlayson’s comments about bullying allegations in Parliament, rather than his views on name suppression laws. The broadcaster acknowledged this clip placement was in error. A complaint was made that this error was significantly inaccurate, as it would have misled viewers as to Mr Finlayson’s views regarding name suppression laws. The Authority did not uphold the complaint, finding that while the broadcaster made an error in playing the clip during that particular news segment, it was not significantly misleading in the context of the item as a whole. The Authority acknowledged the technical mistake and did not uphold the complaint. Not Upheld: Accuracy...

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