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Decisions
Fox and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 1999-010
1999-010

SummaryAn interview with physicist Dr Paul Davies focussed on what the interviewer described as "one of the world’s greatest mysteries, how did life first get started" in an episode of the BBC series, Discovery, broadcast on National Radio on 7 October 1998. Dr Davies hypothesised on the processes of mutation and natural selection, and the possible injection of information into genomes through Darwinian evolution. Mr Fox complained to Radio New Zealand Limited, the broadcaster, that Dr Davies’ comments were inaccurate and unbalanced. He said it was incorrect to state that mutation and natural selection increased information in the genome. The programme, he wrote, should have included the Creationist view about the origin of information in living things. Responding, RNZ denied that the comments were inaccurate, and pointed out that they were the scientifically-based opinions of Dr Davies, had been identified as such, and were reported truthfully and accurately....

Decisions
Foster and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-125 (16 March 2021)
2020-125

An item on RNZ’s Midday Report reported ‘Scientists warn polar bears may become extinct by the end of the century because of climate change. ’ The complainant alleged climate change was not threatening polar bears as reported in the item. The Authority found the statements in the item were clearly framed as predictions, and attributed as being the scientists’ view. Therefore, they were analysis and opinion (rather than statements of fact) and the accuracy standard did not apply. Reporting on the predicted future impact of declining sea ice on polar bear survival, as shown in studies, did not amount to a discussion of a controversial issue, so the balance standard did not apply. Not Upheld: Accuracy, Balance, Programme Information...

Decisions
Wood and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2019-036 (17 September 2019)
2019-036

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that the song Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love breached broadcasting standards. The complaint was that the song lyrics described an ‘intention to stalk, kidnap, imprison and rape’ and the song was inappropriate to broadcast in the afternoon. The Authority determined that the song’s satirical nature and upbeat style reduced the potential for the darker tone of the lyrics to cause harm. The song was within audience expectations for the eclectic music selection of the host programme, Matinee Idle and, taking into account the context of the broadcast, the lyrics did not undermine widely shared community standards and would not have unduly harmed child listeners. Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Children’s Interests, Violence, Law and Order, Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Tinsley and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-067 (28 October 2020)
2020-067

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about three RNZ broadcasts regarding political commentator Matthew Hooton. Two items on 21 and 22 May 2020 comprised interviews with Mr Hooton about the National Party leadership contest at that time, following which an item on 24 May 2020 discussed the emergence of Mr Hooton’s conflict of interest in this regard. The complaint was the 21 and 22 May items failed to disclose the conflict and the 24 May item failed to address it adequately. The Authority did not consider the broadcasts breached the accuracy standard, noting Mr Hooton disclosed his friendship with Todd Muller (National Party) in the 21 May item and accepted he had ‘nailed his colours’ to the Muller mast in the 22 May item. The conflict of interest generated by his subsequent engagement by Todd Muller did not arise until after these broadcasts....

Decisions
MacCallum and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 1997-042
1997-042

BEFORE THE BROADCASTING STANDARDS AUTHORITY Decision No: 1997-042 Dated the 17th day of April 1997 IN THE MATTER of the Broadcasting Act 1989 AND IN THE MATTER of a complaint by P M MACCALLUM of Havelock North Broadcaster RADIO NEW ZEALAND LIMITED J M Potter Chairperson L M Loates R McLeod A Martin...

Decisions
Dunlop and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 1997-073
1997-073

BEFORE THE BROADCASTING STANDARDS AUTHORITY Decision No: 1997-073 Dated the 19th day of June 1997 IN THE MATTER of the Broadcasting Act 1989 AND IN THE MATTER of a complaint by PHILIP DUNLOP of Pokeno Broadcaster RADIO NEW ZEALAND LIMITED J M Potter Chairperson L M Loates R McLeod A Martin...

Decisions
Morse and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2014-094
2014-094

Summary [This summary does not form part of the decision. ] An item on Morning Report reported on a New Zealand Defence Force exercise in Hawkes Bay which involved visiting local schools. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that the item was unbalanced and in the nature of ‘propaganda’. This was a brief news report about the army exercise and the school visits, and the fact it reflected positively on the NZDF did not automatically trigger the requirement to present alternative viewpoints. Not Upheld: Controversial Issues Introduction [1] An item on Morning Report reported on a New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) exercise and was introduced as follows: War has broken out in Hawkes Bay, but the bullets being fired are blanks. Several hundred defence force personnel are conducting war games in different parts of the region as part of an intentional training exercise....

Decisions
Maasland and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2018-065 (26 October 2018)
2018-065

Summary[This summary does not form part of the decision. ]A complaint about an interview between Kim Hill and US Palestinian writer and journalist Dr Ramzy Baroud was not upheld. The complaint was that the interview was unbalanced because there was no alternative perspective presented to counter Dr Baroud’s views that Israel’s actions amounted to ‘incremental genocide’ of the Palestinians, among other things. The Authority found RNZ made reasonable efforts as required by the balance standard, taking into account Ms Hill’s challenging of Dr Baroud and the use of devil’s advocate questioning, and other contextual factors. The Authority acknowledged that some may not agree with the terms used by Dr Baroud during the interview, but ultimately found that restricting the broadcaster’s or Dr Baroud’s right to freedom of expression would be unjustified....

Decisions
Terry and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-018 (21 July 2020)
2020-018

The Authority declined to determine two complaints regarding broadcasts by Radio New Zealand. The first complaint related to a segment on the Five O’Clock Report which featured an interview with National Party MP Mark Mitchell. The second complaint related to a segment on the Morning Report featuring an interview with then leader of the Opposition, Simon Bridges. Robert Terry complained that the Five O’Clock Report segment contained biased coverage and that the Morning Report segment required balance.  The Authority found that the complaints did not relate to the content of the broadcast and were not capable of being determined by a complaints procedure. The Authority considered that, in all the circumstances of the complaint, it should not be determined by the Authority. Declined to Determine: Balance...

Decisions
Right To Life New Zealand and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-056 (24 November 2020)
2020-056

The Authority has not upheld a complaint that an item on Checkpoint covering the Select Committee report on the Abortion Legislation Bill was unbalanced, unfair and discriminated against unborn children. The Authority found: ‘unborn children’ were not a recognised section of the community; the broadcaster made reasonable efforts to present significant viewpoints on the issue discussed; and the item did not result in unfairness to anyone taking part or referred to. Not Upheld: Balance, Fairness, Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Watkins & Yardley and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2022-142 (12 April 2023)
2022-142

The Authority has not upheld two complaints about an interview on Morning Report with Sue Grey, lawyer for the parents of a baby whose urgent heart surgery had been delayed due to the parents’ concerns regarding blood from donors vaccinated against COVID-19. The essence of the complaints was that the host did not listen to Grey, constantly interrupted her, did not allow her to answer the questions, and pushed his personal views. The Authority found the interview did not go beyond the level of robust scrutiny that could reasonably be expected in an interview with Grey on this subject, noting in particular that Grey was making claims contrary to public health advice, and was able to put forward key points in the course of the eight-minute interview. Therefore the broadcast overall did not result in any unfairness to Grey....

Decisions
Seven Complainants and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2021-090 (14 September 2022)
2021-090

The Authority upheld aspects of seven complaints under the privacy and fairness standards, regarding broadcasts by RNZ which included material stolen from the Waikato District Health Board and released by hackers on the dark web. The broadcasts were about a child under the care of Oranga Tamariki, who was effectively ‘living’ in a WDHB hospital because Oranga Tamariki was unable to find them a placement. The Authority found the child was identifiable and their privacy was breached on a segment on Morning Report. While there was a legitimate public interest in the story, this did not extend to all the details included in the item. The Authority also found the Morning Report segment breached the privacy of the child’s family but not of the social worker involved. The fairness standard was also breached as the broadcasts were unfair to the child and their family....

Decisions
McArthur and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2023-004 (16 May 2023)
2023-004

The Authority has not upheld a complaint several broadcasts on RNZ National concerning missiles that crossed into Poland breached broadcasting standards. The complainant alleged the reports were unbalanced, inaccurate as to the ownership of the missiles and other matters, discriminated against Russo and Slavic people, disturbing as they raised the prospect of nuclear war in which children would be harmed, and unfair to children. The Authority did not uphold the complaint under the balance standard as the broadcaster had presented significant viewpoints on the issue and had made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy in the context of a developing story. The other standards either did not apply or were not breached. Not Upheld: Balance, Accuracy, Offensive and Disturbing Content, Children’s Interests, Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness...

Decisions
Viti (NZ) Council E Aotearoa and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2023-064 (12 September 2023)
2023-064

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint the use of the term ‘iTaukei’ to refer to indigenous Fijians breached the discrimination and denigration standard. In light of the Authority’s previous finding that a similarly innocuous use of the term did not breach broadcasting standards, the Authority considered it appropriate to decline to determine the complaint. Declined to determine (section 11(b) in all the circumstances the complaint should not be determined): Discrimination and Denigration...

Decisions
Penny and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2024-006 (20 March 2024)
2024-006

The Authority has declined to determine a complaint about a news bulletin on RNZ Concert which reported on Māori and Pasifika honoured in the 2024 New Year Honours list. The complainant alleged that only referring to Māori and Pasifika honourees was ‘reverse racism’. In all the circumstances, the Authority found the complaint did not raise any issues of broadcasting standards that could be properly determined by its complaints process. Declined to determine (section 11(b) in all the circumstances): Discrimination and Denigration, Fairness...

Decisions
Oakley and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 1995-012
1995-012

BEFORE THE BROADCASTING STANDARDS AUTHORITY Decision No: 12/95 Dated the 9th day of March 1995 IN THE MATTER of the Broadcasting Act 1989 AND IN THE MATTER of a complaint by JAMES OAKLEY of Wellington Broadcaster RADIO NEW ZEALAND LIMITED I W Gallaway Chairperson J R Morris L M Loates W J Fraser...

Decisions
Smokefree Coalition and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2000-096
2000-096

Complaint Spectrum – documentary – Cuban cigar business – promoted cigar smoking – glamorised cigars – unbalanced – illegal FindingsPrinciple 2 – no jurisdiction over Smoke-free Environments Act – no uphold Principle 4 – not a controversial issue – no uphold Principle 7 – freedom of speech – no uphold This headnote does not form part of the decision. Summary A Spectrum documentary broadcast on National Radio on 7 December 1999 focused on people involved in the cigar industry. Cuban growers and manufacturers were interviewed, as well as a retailer of cigars in New Zealand. The Smokefree Coalition complained to Radio New Zealand Ltd, the broadcaster, that the programme promoted and glamorised cigar smoking, and gave considerable airtime to promoting the business of an Auckland retailer of cigars....

Decisions
Toovey and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2005-046
2005-046

Complaint under section 8(1)(a) of the Broadcasting Act 1989Morning Report – item on changing population statistics of New Zealand – introduced with reference to the possibility of New Zealand becoming a republic – allegedly unbalancedFindingsPrinciple 4 (balance) – topic of republicanism not the controversial issue of public importance covered by the item – balance on that issue not required – not upheldThis headnote does not form part of the decision. Broadcast [1] On 26 April 2005 at 7. 20am on National Radio, an item on Morning Report covered changing population statistics in New Zealand, noting the expectation of continuing increases in Asian, Māori and Pacific Island communities. The introduction to the item included the statement “some believe this will fuel arguments to ditch the Queen as the head of State”....

Decisions
End-of-Life Choice Society NZ and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2020-095 (1 October 2020)
2020-095

The Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interview on RNZ’s Sunday Morning programme with the author of the book, The Final Choice, in the lead-up to the binding referendum on the End of Life Choice Act. The End-of-Life Choice Society complained that the interview was unbalanced and inaccurate, as it presented the book as ‘the truth’, and did not question the author’s independence or her alleged religious affiliations. The Authority noted its role is limited to applying the relevant broadcasting standards and guidelines, and determining whether any harm was caused which outweighed the right to freedom of expression; it is not the Authority’s role to determine whether the author is ‘independent’, or to determine her personal view on the topic....

Decisions
Claus and Radio New Zealand Ltd - 2023-018 (16 May 2023)
2023-018

The Authority has not upheld a complaint an episode of The Panel, which discussed Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s recent resignation announcement, breached the accuracy standard. During the episode, the host spoke briefly with a caller who raised concerns about COVID-19 vaccine mandates, to which a panellist responded ‘97% of us got vaccinated’. While the Authority acknowledged this statement was inaccurate, it was unlikely to significantly affect listeners’ understanding of the segment which focused on Ardern’s resignation. Not Upheld: Accuracy...

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