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News item on Heron inquiry story was unfair says BSA

24 May 2017

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has upheld a complaint about a Newshub item on the outcome of a review by Michael Heron QC of Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) fisheries prosecution decisions.

The reporter referred to the resignations of two senior MPI officials, implying that the resignations were connected to the outcome of the Heron review.

The BSA upheld the complaint that the broadcast was unfair. The item reflected negatively on the two individuals’ professional reputations and had the potential to adversely affect them. It says that in the interests of fairness, the broadcast should have given the individuals a fair and reasonable opportunity to respond to the allegations.

The Authority found the broadcaster had made reasonable efforts to ensure accuracy by relying on sources which it satisfied itself were credible.

The allegations were presented alongside MPI’s position that the resignations were not connected to the Heron review, so viewers would not have been misled.

Satirical comedy about Royal family not in breach of standards

The BSA has not upheld a complaint that four episodes of the TVNZ comedy series, The Windsors, breached broadcasting standards. The show parodied the British Royal family and was classified Adults Only, and broadcast after 8.30pm.

The BSA acknowledged the form of satirical humour in The Windsors may be seen by some as crude due to the language and sexual material, and may not be to everyone’s liking. However, it found that humour and satire are important and valued forms of expression, and says the right to freedom of expression includes the right to satirise public figures, including heads of state.

“The episodes were clearly highly satirical. They were intended to provide humour and entertainment to viewers by referring to, and giving satirical commentary on, topical events involving the British Royal family,” the BSA says.

The Authority found The Windsors did not exceed audience expectations of an AO-classified satirical comedy series.

Last updated on the 16th September 2019