The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has upheld a complaint about a feature on Three’s The Project that resulted in the evening programme issuing an on-air apology 24 hours later.
The item aired on 14 December 2017 discussed the building of a new gambling venue in Tokoroa set to contain 30 gambling machines, or pokies.
The report was critical of the South Waikato District Council’s role in the authorisation of the new venue, and also one of the councillors’ roles as both a councillor and manager of one of the clubs involved in the creation of the proposed new venue.
The following evening one of the programme hosts, Kanoa Lloyd, issued an on-air apology to the councillor, clarifying that they were not a councillor when the decision regarding the venue was made. She also said the councillor did not deserve the criticism they received in the broadcast.
The council referred the complaint to the BSA, on the basis that the broadcaster failed to remedy all of the inaccuracies arising from the segment, and although it publically apologised to the councillor, it failed to extend an apology to the local authority for other inaccuracies. These included that the council receives a portion of gambling machine profits and that it decides the amount of gambling machines and where they are placed, and the harm these inaccuracies caused to the council’s reputation.
The BSA found that the apology did not remedy the harm caused to the council by the broadcast, only the councillor.
The BSA also upheld the complaint that the host’s statement that the district council ‘get a cut of the profits’ from the gambling machines was inaccurate, as it does not directly receive any percentage of the profits.