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Decisions
Arps and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-073B (7 May 2020)
2019-073B

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a Newshub segment that discussed the potential rise of far-right ideology in New Zealand breached the balance and accuracy standards. The Authority found that the segment was balanced as it contained multiple points of view. The Authority also found that the presenter’s reference to the complainant as a ‘white supremacist’ was a statement of analysis and opinion to which the accuracy standard does not apply.

Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy

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
Bamber and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-096 (23 April 2020)
2019-096

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a remark about suicide made by Mr Burns at the end of The Simpsons Movie was in breach of the good taste and decency, children’s interests and violence standards. The Authority acknowledged that the remark pushed the boundaries of the G (General) classification and recognised the need for broadcasters to take particular care when addressing subjects such as suicide. However, noting the nature of, and audience expectations for, The Simpsons as well as the nature and position (within the credits) of the remark, the Authority concluded that the programme was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress or to be unduly harmful or disturbing to children. The Authority also noted that there were no scenes of violence depicted.

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

Decisions
Gale and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-106 ( 7 April 2020)
2019-106

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the word ‘douche’ following an interview with Hannah Tamaki breached the good taste and decency standard. The complaint was that Mrs Tamaki was referred to as a ‘douche’, which was not an acceptable way to refer to a woman. The Authority noted that the word was used on two occasions. The first use of the word originated from audience feedback saying Mrs Tamaki was ‘on the same page as [Donald Trump]; and that ‘Trump’s a douche’. The host’s later comment promoting an upcoming item – ‘from douches to [chef] Nadia Lim’ – was ambiguous as to whether or not it was intended to refer to Mrs Tamaki. In any event, the Authority did not consider the use of the word threatened community standards of good taste and decency in the context.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Richards and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-105 (7 April 2020)
2019-105

The Authority did not uphold a complaint about a promo for Love Island Australia, which was available to view online on ThreeNow. The promo depicted the programme host, Sophie Monk and two others as angels sitting in the clouds. The ‘god of love’, a heart-shaped cloud in the sky, called down to Sophie saying, ‘we need more love’. Sophie responded that she had ‘the perfect place for falling in love… a love island’, in response to which the ‘god of love’ asked, ‘and what about hot bods?’ The complainant found the promo offensive as he considered it mocked Christianity and Christian beliefs. Weighing these concerns against the right to freedom of expression, the Authority found the promo’s content would not 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. Therefore, the promo 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
Nally and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-107 (7 April 2020)
2019-107

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a segment on Newshub regarding the Invercargill Licensing Trust Group (ILT) was inaccurate. The item reported on the ILT’s history, purpose and its funding of community projects and ventures. The Authority found that the segment was unlikely to significantly misinform or mislead viewers regarding the ILT. The Authority also found that none of the issues raised by the complainant amounted to a material inaccuracy for the purposes of the accuracy standard.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Malone and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-087 (4 February 2020)
2019-087

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the terms ‘synthetic cannabis’ and ‘synthetic cannabinoids’ in a Newshub segment that reported on these products, their availability and the fact they have been responsible for a large number of deaths in New Zealand recently breached the accuracy standard. The Authority found that while these products do not contain actual cannabis, the terms ‘synthetic cannabis’ and ‘synthetic cannabinoids’ are commonly used to describe them, both by agencies like the Ministry for Health and the NZ Drug Foundation, and also by the media. Therefore, the Authority did not consider it likely viewers would be significantly misinformed by their use in this broadcast.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
McDonald and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-076 (4 February 2020)
2019-076

The Authority declined to determine a complaint about a news item featuring an eleven year old boy who won a trip to go to a Rugby World Cup 2019 game in Japan with Richie McCaw. The Authority was unable to identify any elements in the broadcast that would raise any concerns under the standards raised. The Authority declined to determine the complaint on the basis it was frivolous and trivial. 

Decline to determine: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence, Alcohol, Accuracy

Decisions
Yukich and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-080 (4 February 2020)
2019-080

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a joke on The Project referring to Mark Lundy breached the good taste and decency standard. After an introductory remark referring to Mr Lundy’s latest appeal, a photo was shown of a car number plate reading ‘I DID IT’, and presenter Jesse Mulligan joked that Mr Lundy ‘may want to re-think the car he’s using to get to and from court’ and referred to the car ‘travelling at a very high speed’. Diana Yukich complained that the joke was in poor taste as it made light of domestic violence by alluding to Mr Lundy’s crimes, and undermined the work being done to counter violence against women. The Authority found that while the segment might be considered insensitive by some, taking into account relevant contextual factors and the satirical nature of the comments, as well as the fact the joke did not refer specifically to Mr Lundy’s crimes, the broadcast did not threaten standards of good taste and decency and was unlikely to cause widespread offence or undue distress.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Shierlaw and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-068 (22 January 2020)
2019-068

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a comment made by Patrick Gower during a Newshub segment about the presence of the far right in New Zealand breached the accuracy standard. The Authority found that Mr Gower’s comment that ‘the global far-right is here in New Zealand, influencing us and our politicians whether we realise it or not’ was not a statement of fact to which the accuracy standard applies. The Authority found the statement was one of comment and political analysis, the type of which is common in news and current affairs broadcasts and which viewers would have understood to be Mr Gower’s conclusion based on the information presented in the item.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Parker and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-069 (16 December 2019)
2019-069

In an episode of The AM Show, host, Duncan Garner, interviewed economist Cameron Bagrie on the topic of dropping interest rates. During the interview, Mr Bagrie commented regarding the risk of people no longer putting money in the bank, saying, ‘the banks need the money in the bank, because they gotta … get a dollar in the door before they can put the money out the door in the form of a loan.’ The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the item breached the accuracy standard. The Authority found that Mr Bagrie’s statement was clearly distinguishable as analysis, comment or opinion so the accuracy standard does not apply.

Not Upheld: Accuracy

Decisions
Lowes and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-064 (16 December 2019)
2019-064

During a segment on The AM Show that discussed immigration to New Zealand host Mark Richardson said: ‘we’re clearly not getting enough English immigrants to become traffic officers’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that Mr Richardson’s comment was discriminatory to nationalities that are ‘not English’ in breach of the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority found the complainant did not identify a ‘section of the community’ for the purposes of the standard. The Authority also found that, considering audience expectations of The AM Show and Mr Richardson, the light-hearted nature of the comment and other contextual factors, the comment did not reach the threshold required to be considered discriminatory or denigratory.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and denigration

Decisions
McCaughan and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-065 (16 December 2019)
2019-065

During an episode of Newshub, news reporter Emma Cropper referred to police vehicles as ‘paddy-wagons’. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the term breached the discrimination and denigration standard. The Authority did not find any element of condemnation, malice or nastiness present in the usage of the term in this context and therefore could not conclude that the broadcast encouraged discrimination and denigration in contravention of the standard.

Not Upheld: Discrimination and denigration

Decisions
Apps and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-055 (18 November 2019)
2019-055

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a promo for The Titan Games, broadcast during Newshub Live at 6pm and containing the phrase ‘holy crap’ breached the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found that the phrase was unlikely to undermine or violate widely shared community norms and overall any potential for harm did not justify a restriction on the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Callaghan and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-058 (18 November 2019)
2019-058

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that a segment on The Project that questioned whether a ‘stolen generation’ was being created in light of an investigative report into Oranga Tamariki’s uplifting of a child breached broadcasting standards. The Authority acknowledged the sensitive nature of the issue addressed but found the item, and specifically the host’s use of the term ‘stolen generation’ was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress. The Authority also found the item was unlikely to mislead viewers regarding the situation considering the nature of the programme and the presentation of alternate viewpoints on the issue. Finally, the Authority found the broadcast did not result in any unfairness to Oranga Tamariki that justified the restriction of the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression, as its perspective was clearly presented in the short item.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Accuracy, Fairness

Decisions
Eliott and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-062 (18 November 2019)
2019-062

During an episode of Newshub, political editor Tova O’Brien used the term ‘SNAFU’ in reference to a plane the Prime Minister was supposed to be on breaking down. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the term ‘SNAFU’ was unacceptable and a breach of the good taste and decency standard. The Authority found that, taking into account relevant contextual factors, including the nature of the programme, audience expectations of Newshub and the fact that the offensive word implied was not explicitly stated in the broadcast, the use of ‘SNAFU’ did not threaten community norms of good taste and decency, or justify restricting the right to freedom of expression.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency

Decisions
Pask and Mediaworks TV Ltd - 2019-057 (18 November 2019)
2019-057

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on Newshub Live at 6pm concerning US immigration breached the good taste and decency and balance standards. The complaint was that showing the bodies of a toddler and her father who drowned while trying to enter the US was gratuitous, and that the item’s coverage of migrant detention camps and interviews with protestors outside were unbalanced as no comment was included from US authorities. The Authority found that including the images of dead bodies was justified in the public interest, and the warning preceding them was sufficient to enable viewers to exercise choice and control over their viewing, so there was no breach of good taste and decency. Under the balance standard, the Authority found the item was clearly signalled as being focused on the plight and struggles of child migrants primarily from Central America and the obstacles and risks they face, rather than immigration policy itself, therefore comments from US authorities would not be expected. Additionally, the issue is the subject of ongoing media scrutiny around the world, so viewers could reasonably be expected to be aware of significant viewpoints on the issue, including from US authorities, and would not be left significantly misinformed as a result of this item.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Balance

Decisions
Lethborg and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-053 (10 October 2019)
2019-053

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that a comment made by Dai Henwood referring to the Mountain City Fiddlers breached the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards. The comment, which was made while introducing a country music-themed section in Dancing with the Stars, was found to be within audience expectations for the programme, the presenter, and PGR programmes in general. It was unlikely to cause widespread offence or adversely affect child viewers, and did not reach the threshold requiring regulatory intervention.

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

Decisions
Sta. Lucia and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-048 (30 September 2019)
2019-048

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an episode of Love Island UK, aired at 5pm and classified G, breached the children’s interests standard. The Authority noted that the episode of Love Island UK was heavily edited to meet the G classification required for the 5pm timeslot and was not the same as the extended version of the programme available online on ThreeNow. The Authority found that in the context in which it was aired the broadcast did not cause harm at the level that justified intervention by the Authority. While the episode of Love Island UK contained some mature themes, and may not reflect values that all parents and caregivers would endorse for children in their care, it did not contain content that would alarm or distress children to the extent justifying intervention. The Authority identified that the name of the programme, the scheduling of it between news programmes targeted at a mature audience, the information about the programme provided in the electronic programme guide, and the likely and target audience were relevant contextual factors. The programme was not designed to attract children and screened between programmes that would not generally interest children. The Authority found that the audience would have had enough information to make an informed decision about their viewing or the viewing of children in their care.

Not Upheld: Children’s Interests

Decisions
Wratt and MediaWorks TV Ltd - 2019-031 (17 September 2019)
2019-031

The Authority declined to determine a complaint regarding a news item covering animal welfare in rodeos. David Wratt complained that the item, which covered loss of animal life in rodeos, should focus on the deaths of babies as human life is more valuable than animal life. As this complaint relates to a matter of editorial discretion and personal preference, it is not capable of being determined by a complaints procedure. The Authority considered that, in all circumstances of the complaint, it should not be determined by the Authority. 

Declined to Determine: Good Taste and Decency; Programme Information; Discrimination and Denigration; Balance; Fairness

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