Research Ngā Rangahau

Private Matters: A Review of the Privacy Decisions of the Broadcasting Standards Authority, 2009


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Private Matters: A Review of the Privacy Decisions of the Broadcasting Standards Authority PDF (662.98 KB)

Date published: December 2009

Author: Dr. Nicole Moreham


  • Assess the robustness and relevance of the decisions particularly in the privacy standard


  • Reviewing 20 decisions of BSA in the last four years


  • The Authority is striking an appropriate balance between the interests of broadcasters and aggrieved individuals
  • The Privacy Principles that form part of the Privacy Standard from the Codes of Broadcasting Practice are well-formulated and applied in a fair and balanced way
  • Clear rules are established and judgments are easy to understand, making the Authority’s decisions an excellent source of guidance for broadcasters and privacy lawyers alike
  • Suggested responses for the following principles:
    • The public disclosure of private facts – amend this principle to ask whether the claimant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect to the information or material which the defendant has broadcast; the Authority should recognise that the rule that a claimant must be identifiable is not absolute
    • The public disclosure of ‘public‘ facts – the Authority should recognise that there can be no absolute rule that disclosures about things which occur in a public place will not be a breach of privacy
    • Intrusion into solitude and seclusion – the Authority should apply the ‘screening or shutting off from outside access or public view’ and ‘zone of sensory or physical privacy’ tests in all cases, including those where no intrusion is found
    • Informed consent – it is appropriate that any member of the public should be able to complain to the Authority if he or she believes that broadcasting standards have been breached, but in future cases the Authority should articulate more clearly why it believes it is in a position to resolve a third party complaint without the third party’s input