Research Ngā Rangahau

Children's Interests: A Review of Broadcasting Standards Authority Child Complaints Decisions, 2010

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Children's Interests: A Review of BSA Child Complaints Decisions PDF (687.58 KB)

Date published: May 2010

Author: Dr Sue Jackson


  • Examines BSA decisions on complaints lodged regarding children as viewers of, and participants in, television broadcasts.


  • Reviewing BSA decisions and relevant studies/research.


  • Ethical matters concerning children are not black and white: they are complex and difficult.
  • The Authority’s decisions effectively use existing provisions to ensure that children are accorded the dignity, respect and rights accorded to them under the United Nations Convention On the Rights of the Child.
  • Some of the most ‘objectionable’ material in broadcasts contravening children’s privacy and interests has been permitted through parental consent. The assumption that parents (and broadcasters) will act in the best interests of children cannot be relied on.
  • Currently, children themselves have no rights regarding their participation, a state of affairs that is contrary to the United Nations Convention On the Rights of the Child.
  • Children’s consent – must be informed consent and this requires provision of clear, full and age-appropriate information about the use of a child or young person’s material and why broadcasters want to include it
  • Clear guidelines on procedures with child participants (a Code of Practice for Children) may both enhance media treatment of children and prevent broadcasts that are contrary to children’s interests.