Litmus Testing 2013/2014

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Date published: May 2014

Research Company: Nielsen


  • To gauge the public's current attitude and to determine whether the public can understand (and accept) the rationale for the BSA's decisions in relation to the Discrimination and Denigration standard.


  • Four focus group meetings were conducted in Auckland with 6 participants in each group.
  • The groups were conducted across four age groups (18–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–65)
  • The groups were of equal gender breakdown, mixed ethnicity, and weighted numerically with people who had association with groups commonly subject to discrimination or denigration (disability, sexual identity and/or religion)

Context for Interpretation of Results

  • Participants were shown clips rather than the whole programme (BSA decisions have to take into account the programme as a whole).
  • When the clips were first shown they provided a useful snapshot of the immediate reaction to the clips. The participants were then provided more information about what the BSA had to factor in to their considerations (ie, the BSA's reasoning), to determine if their views changed.


  • Prior to seeing a summary of the BSA's reasoning, the participants' initial reaction to each clip was often at odds with the BSA's decision.
  • However, once the participants had seen summaries outlining the BSA's rationale, and better understood the legal and other guidelines the BSA follows, the majority of them agreed with or at least accepted the BSA's decisions.
  • Reactions and views of those who either belonged to a section of the community more likely to be the subject of denigration or discrimination, or who were close to someone who was, did not differ markedly from other people not in these categories.