The Authority has not upheld a complaint regarding the question ‘How can anyone trust anything that you say?’ put to Dr Ashley Bloomfield, Director-General of Health, following the positive tests of two women who were released from managed isolation on compassionate grounds. Dr Bloomfield’s answers to the question (which was posed twice) were shown on-air. Viewers would not have been left with an unduly negative impression of him. As a public health official he is reasonably subject to robust scrutiny, especially during a pandemic. The fairness standard was accordingly not breached and the remaining standards did not apply.
Not Upheld: Fairness, Accuracy, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment on 1 News in which reporter Maiki Sherman interviewed the Hon Nick Smith about the National Party blocking a proposal to enable Māori to switch more easily between the general electoral roll and Māori electoral roll. The complainant submitted Ms Sherman was aggressive and interrupted Mr Smith and her attitude was racist. The Authority found Mr Smith was not treated unfairly given, in particular, his experience as a politician and the public interest in the issue discussed. Regarding balance, Mr Smith had an opportunity to present his views on the issue and a range of perspectives were presented in the broadcast. The discrimination and denigration standard did not apply.
Not Upheld: Fairness, Balance, Discrimination and Denigration
In an episode of The AM Show, Opposition Leader Hon Judith Collins suggested a fellow interviewee should stop talking or she would give him a bruised nose (like she had at the time). The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the broadcast breached the violence standard. The Authority found Ms Collins’ comment justified by context and unlikely to incite or encourage violence against men.
Not Upheld: Violence
The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a spoof of OMC hit song ‘How Bizarre’, in which the singer mimicked the original artist’s accent, breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority found the accent used was an attempt to imitate the distinctive singing voice of Mr Fuemana and sound of ‘How Bizarre’, in the spirit of spoofing the song itself, rather than an attempt to imitate a specifically Māori or Pacific Island English accent. It did not encourage discrimination against or denigration of Māori or Pacific Islanders.
Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a segment on Newshub which stated, ‘The White House has reportedly asked about adding President Trump's face to the famous granite carvings at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial’. The complainant submitted the news was fake and Mr Trump had already confirmed this before the broadcast. The Authority noted the statement was qualified by the word ‘reportedly’, and was accurate to the extent such reports had been made. While the segment carried little value in terms of public interest, the Authority found viewers were unlikely to have been misled.
Not Upheld: Accuracy
The Authority has upheld a complaint that an episode of 20/20 aired on free-to-air television on a Sunday at 9am, detailing serial killer Ted Bundy’s crimes, motivations, and background, breached the children’s interests and programme information standards. The Authority noted that the broadcast presented in detail some potentially distressing and disturbing content, and themes including sexual violence and perversion, murder, and abduction, without any audience advisory or warning for this content. Additionally, the Authority considered the content and themes were suited for broadcast during the M timeband (suitable for a mature audience), rather than during PG time (which indicated the content was not necessarily unsuitable for child viewers under adult supervision). Viewers were not given sufficient information or signposting about the programme’s likely content to enable them to make informed choices about whether they, or children in their care, should view the broadcast. The Authority therefore found that the potential harm arising from the broadcast, particularly in relation to child viewers, outweighed the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression on this occasion.
Upheld: Children’s Interests, Programme Information.
Orders: Section 16(4) – $750 costs to the Crown
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an episode of New Zealand Hunter Adventures featuring two groups of duck shooters in New Zealand. The episode included footage of people, including young people, using firearms, shooting ducks, celebrating successful shots, holding and plucking dead ducks, and showcasing hunting gear and equipment. Taking into account the relevant contextual factors including the programme’s classification, target audience and audience expectations, the broadcast did not breach the good taste and decency, children’s interests or violence standard.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence
A 1 News presenter used the term ‘gypsy day’ when reporting on the annual relocation of sharemilkers. The Authority upheld a complaint that this breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority highlighted the importance of responding to societal change: terms that may have been acceptable in the past, may not necessarily be acceptable in the future. While not used to express malice or hatred, the phrase is derogatory and evokes prejudicial biases towards the Roma community. When used in this context, it is capable of embedding existing negative stereotypes.
Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration
Two complaints about Sean Plunket’s interview of Te Whānau ā Apanui spokesperson Louis Rapihana were upheld under the discrimination and denigration standard. The interview was about the legal basis for iwi roadblocks in the eastern Bay of Plenty under COVID-19 Alert Level 4 and what the iwi intended to do if anyone refused to comply with the travel permit requirement established under Alert Level 3. The Authority1 found Mr Plunket’s approach during the interview and comments made on-air afterwards had the effect of amplifying negative stereotypes about Māori and the potential to cause widespread harm.
Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration
Orders: Section 13(1)(a) – broadcast statement; Section 16(4) – $3,000 costs to the Crown
The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a Seven Sharp item referring to Wilson Parking breached the accuracy and fairness standards. The item covered a dispute between a carpark customer and Wilson Parking. A Fair Go consumer advocate also provided general advice to people about their rights in relation to parking fines. In the context of providing general information to viewers from a consumer advocacy perspective, the advice did not breach the accuracy standard. The Authority also found the broadcast did not breach the fairness standard. It noted that Wilson Parking had been given an opportunity to comment on the specific customer’s situation and, as a multinational company, could reasonably have been expected to be aware that the programme would use the specific situation to discuss the company’s wider operations. It could have expanded the statement provided to the broadcaster.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
The Authority did not uphold complaints that an item on Kerre McIvor Mornings breached the accuracy standard. The content was likely to be interpreted as commentary and opinion, and not statements of fact to which the accuracy standard applied. In terms of the balance standard, it was clearly presented from the host’s perspective. Given the nature of the programme, listeners were unlikely to have been misled by the omission of other views. The Authority also found that, in its context, the segment was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or undermine widely shared community standards, did not actively promote serious antisocial or illegal activity and was not unfair to the Government or Prime Minister. Accordingly it did not breach the good taste and decency, law and order or fairness standards.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Good taste and decency, Law and order, Fairness
The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the balance standard concerning an RNZ news item reporting on fires at cell phone towers in Auckland. The item noted in Britain dozens of cell towers have been set alight reportedly by people who believe 5G technology was spreading COVID-19. The complaint was that the item should also have pointed out the ‘existence of serious and responsible groups who peacefully oppose 5G’. The Authority found the item was a brief, straightforward news report which did not amount to a ‘discussion’, therefore the balance standard and the requirement to present alternative viewpoints did not apply.
Not Upheld: Balance
The Authority has upheld a complaint that an item on Fair Go was unfair to the fencing contractor investigated. The Authority found that the fencing contractor was not treated fairly, due to the way he was set-up to be interviewed (under the guise of calling him to a job) and because he was not given a fair and reasonable opportunity to respond to the allegations made against him in the programme. The Authority also found that the inclusion of information about the contractor’s past which had a criminal element was unfair as it was not relevant to the issues being investigated in this item and contributed to an unfairly negative impression of him. The accuracy complaint was not upheld as the item did not mislead or present inaccurate information, and the balance standard did not apply as the item did not discuss a controversial issue of public importance.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance.
Order: Section 16(4) - $750 costs to the Crown
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News covering police brutality in the United States of America and comments made by its President Donald Trump about deceased victim of police brutality, George Floyd. The item reported Mr Trump was ‘copping more flack’ for his comments and that, ‘celebrating better than expected employment numbers, he bizarrely called it a great day for George Floyd’. To the extent the broadcast may be considered inaccurate or misleading for suggesting an incorrect interpretation of Mr Trump’s comments, the Authority found it was not material. The Authority also considered Mr Trump is a high profile politician and public figure and could have reasonably expected to be subject to such scrutiny.
Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a Checkpoint report breached the accuracy and balance standards by stating attacks against 5G cell towers internationally were due to ‘widely debunked conspiracy theories, linking telecommunications technology to illness, including COVID-19’. The Authority found the statement was unlikely to significantly affect listeners’ understanding of the segment and the balance standard did not apply, as the broadcast was not a discussion regarding the safety of 5G technology.
Not Upheld: Accuracy and Balance
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an episode of comedy gameshow, Have You Been Paying Attention?, which depicted the President of the United States Donald Trump wearing a capirote (a pointed hood as worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan). The Authority found such confronting symbolism pushed the boundaries of acceptable satire. However, it did not breach the good taste and decency standard, given the importance of freedom of expression and satire as a legitimate form of expression. Mr Trump’s public profile was also a factor. The complainant had not identified any affected section of the community to which the discrimination and denigration standard applied. Nor did the accuracy standard apply as the programme was not news, current affairs or factual programming.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Discrimination and Denigration, Accuracy
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview on talkback radio show, Kerre McIvor Mornings, in which host Kerre McIvor criticised a caller for his position on the Government’s COVID-19 response saying ‘For God’s sake, listen to you’, and ‘God you’re pathetic’. The Authority found Ms McIvor’s comments and approach were unlikely to undermine widely shared community standards or to have caused widespread undue offence or distress.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
Warning: This decision contains language that some readers may find offensive.
The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the language used in two episodes of The Hotel Inspector, breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. 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. The programme was adequately signposted to enable audiences to protect children.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency and Children’s Interests
The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the use of ‘Jesus’ as an exclamation in an episode of Shortland Street. The complaint was the use of ‘Jesus’ in this way disrespected New Zealanders who use that name only in prayer. The Authority acknowledged the complainant, and others in the community, find the language used offensive. However, as it has previously determined, the use of variations of ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ’ as exclamations did not threaten community standards of good taste and decency.
Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency
In an episode of The Sean Plunket Working Group, one of the presenters commented ‘fuck this is good radio’ before the commercial break. A complaint that this breached the good taste and decency standard was upheld by the broadcaster in the first instance. The Authority1 did not uphold a complaint that the action taken by the broadcaster was insufficient to remedy the breach, considering the word was not intended to be aired, and the broadcaster upheld the complaint in the first instance, apologising for the mistake. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the references to camps in the broadcast breached the standard as they were made in connection with quarantine management, and did not carry the ‘prison camp’ connotations suggested by the complainant.
Not upheld: Good taste and decency (including action taken)