New Zealand Law Society - BSA rules against radio host who made on-air threats

BSA rules against radio host who made on-air threats

This article is over 3 years old. More recent information on this subject may exist.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has upheld a complaint that a segment of Punjabi talkback programme, Dasam Granth Da Sach breached the good taste and decency, violence and law and order standards.

During the show, the host, Harnek Singh, made threatening comments, directed at members of a Sikh sect, Damdami Taksaal, in response to recent violent incidents in India.

Radio Virsa initially responded to the complainant saying that he had taken the comments ‘in the wrong context’ and invited him to call in to the broadcast.

The BSA found the comments undermined widely shared community standards, considering their seriousness, specificity and other contextual factors.

The Authority also found the comments actively incited violence and promoted disrespect for the law within the specific community of listeners. The BSA says it recognises the value of the broadcaster’s right to freedom of expression but found the potential for harm justified a restriction of this right.