Unfair and inaccurate Fair Go housebuilding item breached broadcasting standards
The Broadcasting Standards Authority has upheld a complaint an item on Fair Go dealing with various issues arising from a house being built breached the accuracy and fairness standards.
It has ordered Television New Zealand to publish a statement summarising the BSA’s decision on air and online, and to pay $2,000 legal costs plus disbursements to the complainants and $1,000 in costs to the Crown.
The decision and orders relate to a Fair Go item broadcast on 20 September 2021, about issues with a house built by the complainant’s company.
The complainants alleged this breached the accuracy, fairness, privacy and balance standards.
The Authority agreed the programme was inaccurate and misleading in its portrayal of issues involved in building the house, including price variations and the company’s responsibility for delays and outstanding council invoices.
It determined that TVNZ failed to take reasonable efforts to ensure the programme was accurate and did not mislead.
The BSA also found the complainants were portrayed unfairly and their views were not fairly reflected.
“We are conscious the Fair Go series, and its investigations into various consumer issues, is of public interest and carries high value.
“However, where a person or organisation referred to in a broadcast might be adversely affected, their comments must be fairly depicted.
“In this case, we consider that the broadcaster has not met its obligations,” the BSA said.
The Authority said Fair Go’s presentation and discussion of issues was likely to have caused unwarranted harm to the reputation of the complainants.
There was no breach of the privacy standard, and the balance standard did not apply as the programme did not deal with a controversial issue of public importance, the BSA found.
The decision can be seen at https://www.bsa.govt.nz/decisions/all-decisions/. The decision was made under the Free-to-Air TV Code of Broadcasting Practice (2020 edition) which applied to programmes broadcast before 1 July 2022 and is available to view on our website: https://bsa.govt.nz/broadcasting-standards/broadcasting-code-book/.
ABOUT THE BROADCASTING STANDARDS AUTHORITY
The BSA is an independent Crown entity that oversees the broadcasting standards regime in New Zealand. It determines complaints that broadcasts have breached standards, undertakes research and oversees the development of broadcasting standards in consultation with broadcasters.