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BSA finds university treated unfairly over sexual assault allegations

16 June 2020

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has found that items on TVNZ’s Breakfast and 1 News were unfair to the University of Otago, in breach of the fairness broadcasting standard. The Breakfast programme was also found to be in breach of the balance broadcasting standard.

The findings relate to a complaint by the university regarding items on Sunday, 1 News and Breakfast about sexual assault allegations by former and current students of the university.

The BSA says the complaint raised important issues about fairness, accuracy and balance in journalism.

The Breakfast and 1 News items chose to focus on the university’s decision not to be interviewed, resulting in unfairness to the university. The Authority says: “In our view the university was not treated fairly and, in the case of Breakfast, balance was also lacking. These two programmes fell short of the standards we expect of broadcasters in New Zealand.”

The Authority did not make any orders, and said that the publication of its decision would be sufficient to censure the broadcasters’ conduct.

Last updated on the 16th June 2020