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Decisions
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2021-028 (15 July 2021)
2021-028

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News reporting on COVID-19 vaccine rollouts. The Authority found, in the context of the broadcast, the statistics cited in relation to Israel’s vaccine rollout were accurate. A discussion of access to vaccines in Israel by Palestinians was not material to the item and its omission would not have misled viewers. The remaining standards did not apply to the broadcast or issues raised in the complaint.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-029 (15 July 2021)
2021-029

The Authority has not upheld a complaint alleging an item on Morning Report misrepresented the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s views responding to iwi concerns about groundwater issues, including why local streams were drying up, and did not properly examine the complexity of the issues. The Authority found no breach of the balance standard as the item focused on one aspect of the issue and was clearly presented from the iwi’s perspective, and there is ongoing coverage of various viewpoints on the topic.

Not Upheld: Balance

Decisions
New Zealand Defence Force and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-024 (15 July 2021)
2021-024

The Authority has not upheld a complaint from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) about an interview with Nicky Hager discussing the results of an Australian enquiry into its Defence Force and the implications for the NZDF. The Authority noted the high public interest in the broadcast and found that as it was clearly coming from Mr Hager’s perspective and other news bulletins signalled other views, the balance standard was not breached. The broadcast was not unfair to the NZDF. It is a government agency that can reasonably expect public scrutiny. In addition, comment from the Defence Minister was sought and included in later news bulletins.

Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness

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
NH and Radio Virsa - 2020-164 (29 June 2021)
2020-164

The majority of the Authority has not upheld a privacy complaint about an item on Asliyat responding to petitions made in opposition to Radio Virsa staff, in relation to Gurdwara management and the sale of a Gurdwara property. The host called into question the righteousness of the petitioners as Sikhs, including the complainant’s son, who the host identified as someone at the centre of a family scandal (which included issues of drug addiction and allegations of theft and other ‘bad things’). The complainant submitted the broadcast identified his son and disclosed private information in a way that was highly offensive and damaging to the reputation of his son and son’s family. Based on the information disclosed, the majority of the Authority found the complainant’s son was not identifiable beyond family and close friends who would reasonably be expected to know about the matter dealt with in the broadcast. The minority view was that the information disclosed enabled listeners, beyond family and close friends who would reasonably be expected to know about the issues discussed, to identify the complainant’s son, and this information had the quality of private information whether or not all of it was true, such that the disclosure breached the privacy standard.

Not Upheld by Majority: Privacy  

Decisions
TC and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-047 (29 June 2021)
2021-047

The Authority has not upheld a privacy complaint about an episode of David Lomas Investigates, which covered the story of a woman who as a baby was found on the footpath wrapped in newspaper. In two segments, Mr Lomas visited the address at which the baby was reportedly found, and during the course of the programme disclosed the street, suburb and city. Two letterbox numbers at the bottom of an entrance path and steps were also shown ‘at the next property’, as an example of what the address may have looked like when the baby was found (before construction of the new building on the property). The complainant argued this breached her privacy as the programme disclosed her full address and filmed her property without notifying her or asking for permission. The Authority found the privacy standard did not apply, as the right to privacy attaches to identifiable individuals rather than to property, and the complainant was not identifiable in the broadcast.

Not Upheld: Privacy  

Decisions
Frost and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-013 (29 June 2021)
2021-013

The Authority has not upheld a complaint regarding a broadcast in which the host commented on the US election results and suggested outgoing President Trump had been defrauded of votes, particularly in Georgia. Listeners would have been well aware of other views and not expected a balanced approach to the issue in the context of a talkback programme which approached the subject from a particular perspective. The complainant also did not identify any person or organisation that was treated unfairly in the broadcast. In any event, the discussion of US political events, in the context of the broadcast, was unlikely to cause unfairness.

Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness

Decisions
Gates and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-014 (29 June 2021)
2021-014

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a Midday Report item regarding a boost in Kiwisaver funds breached the accuracy and fairness standards. The complainant argued the item was misleading, for not disclosing that the organisation which produced the relevant survey findings does not survey all Kiwisaver providers, and was unfair to Kiwisaver providers who were not surveyed. The Authority found the item would not have misled listeners and that the fairness standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Kirke and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-020 (29 June 2021)
2021-020

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about a remark ‘there will probably be some racists tuning in’ in reference to the English greeting following ‘kia ora koutou katoa’ during a comedy skit shown on The AM Show. The complainant alleged this was ‘racist’ and the broadcaster should apologise to ‘all English-speaking people’. The Authority found ‘English-speaking people’ are not a section of society to whom the standard applies. In any event, the comment was not directed specifically at English speakers, it was satirical and it would not have met the threshold required for a breach of the standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

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
WX and NZME Radio Ltd - 2020-174 (29 June 2021)
2020-174

The Authority has not upheld a complaint under the discrimination and denigration standard about a broadcast in which two co-hosts made fun of the third for giving his pet pig a name shared by ‘one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party’, and the three of them joked about distinguishing names associated with Hitler and the Nazis by spelling them differently. The Authority noted the comments may be considered distasteful, in that they trivialised the notoriety of Hitler and the Nazis, but found they did not meet the high threshold required to find a breach of the discrimination and denigration standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
WL and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-167 (29 June 2021)
2020-167

The Authority upheld a privacy complaint about a Newshub item showing footage of children being uplifted from their homes by Oranga Tamariki. The Authority considered there was adequate information in the clip to enable identification of the children. While the story carried high public interest, protecting children’s privacy interests, particularly where the children are clearly vulnerable, must be paramount in broadcasters’ editorial decision making. Insufficient steps were taken to protect the children’s identities, and given the highly sensitive and distressing circumstances, the Authority considered the disclosure of footage enabling their identification was highly offensive.

Upheld: Privacy

Orders: Section 16(4) – $1500 costs to the Crown

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
Hall and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2020-159 (22 June 2021)
2020-159

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on The Project, which discussed the financing of the Government’s $50 billion COVID-19 rescue and recovery budget. It suggested New Zealanders are borrowing this money from the Central Bank in the form of payment for Government bonds. The complainant argued this was inaccurate because New Zealanders are borrowing the money from private institutions. He also complained the broadcast confused direct monetary financing with quantitative easing by suggesting the Reserve Bank was buying bonds directly from the Government (rather than from private institutions). The Authority found the broadcast was materially accurate overall and unlikely to mislead viewers.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Hapeta and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-172 (22 June 2021)
2020-172

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on 1 News in which Darryl Leigh Thomson was described as a co-writer of the song ‘E Tū’. While the Authority agreed it was not accurate to describe Mr Thomson as having co-written the song, it found TVNZ made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
O’Brien and Discovery NZ Ltd - 2021-006 (22 June 2021)
2021-006

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an item on Newshub Live at 6pm, covering the reactions of world leaders to the Capitol Hill riots in Washington DC, that referred to Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani as ‘Iran’s dictator’. The Authority found the description was not a material fact in the context of the item, and in any case the caption describing Mr Rouhani as ‘President of Iran’ reduced any risk of viewers being misled.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Parvomai and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-009 (22 June 2021)
2021-009

The Authority has declined to determine two complaints on the basis they were trivial – one about a teaser for a Nights interview that allegedly mispronounced ‘Rhondda’, and one about a Checkpoint item that referred to England instead of the United Kingdom during a discussion about educational achievement of countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Declined to Determine: Accuracy (section 11(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989 – trivial)

Decisions
Pickford and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-010 (22 June 2021)
2021-010

During Jono and Ben on The Hits radio station, one host commented the weevils in his pantry were ‘procreating faster than a solo mother in Nelson’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that this breached the discrimination and denigration standard, finding ‘solo mothers’ do not amount to a section of the community to which the standard applies. In any event, the comment did not meet the threshold required to find a breach of the standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Vernall and NZME Radio Ltd - 2021-021 (22 June 2021)
2021-021

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about the title of a segment ‘tradie versus lady’ on ZM’s Bree and Clint. While the Authority agreed with the complainant the title may be sexist and outdated, it did not encourage discrimination and denigration in breach of the standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and Denigration

Decisions
Wong & Soper and Television New Zealand Ltd - 2020-177 (22 June 2021)
2020-177

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about an item on 1 News that reported on protests in Washington DC in opposition to the results of the United States Presidential election. The complaints were the item’s description of the Proud Boys as a ‘white supremacist’ group was inaccurate because its leader, Enrique Tarrio, is African-Cuban and it is an ‘American chauvinist’ rather than a white supremacist group. Mr Soper also complained the item’s descriptions of Joe Biden as President-Elect, before his confirmation by the Electoral College, and of voter fraud claims as unproven, were unbalanced and inaccurate because Mr Biden’s election had not been confirmed and there was substantial evidence of voter fraud. The Authority found use of the term ‘white supremacist’ was distinguishable as analysis and opinion, to which the requirement for factual accuracy does not apply. The Authority also noted: ‘President-Elect’ is an unofficial term widely used from as early as election night and all claims of voter fraud remained untested in the Courts as at the date of broadcast. The Authority found, in the context of the broadcast, these descriptions were not materially inaccurate nor likely to mislead viewers. The balance standard did not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance

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