New Zealand Law Society - BSA fines radio programme $750 for breach of fairness standard

BSA fines radio programme $750 for breach of fairness standard

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The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has found a Hindi Radio programme breached the fairness standard of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice.

A host of Humm FM Drive made denigrating comments over two nights about a complainant, who had previously worked for Humm FM at a community event.

The Authority found the comments, which included personal statements and allegations of character, would impact the complainant’s reputation and they should have been given opportunity to respond prior to the broadcast.

In its statement, the BSA noted “the host used the Humm FM platform to air his personal grievances against a competitor, without allowing them the ability to respond or defend themselves.

“Despite being made aware of the issue prior to the second broadcast, the broadcaster took no steps to mitigate the potential harm or to provide the complainant with an opportunity to comment.”

The Authority also iterated that broadcasting standards exist as a guide for broadcasters to balance competing interests between freedom of expression and that the exercise of expression does not cause undue harm.

Ordering a $750 fine against the broadcaster, the BSA acknowledged that while the breach and resulting harm was serious, Humm FM is a small broadcaster with limited resources and few prior complaints raised against it.