New Zealand Law Society - Drop in complaints and decisions upheld by broadcasting watchdog

Drop in complaints and decisions upheld by broadcasting watchdog

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The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) upheld complaints in just one tenth of cases during the 2018-19 year.

The Authority says in its annual report the number of decisions upholding complaints fell from 14% to 10%.

It says it responded to 131 complaints about broadcast content, issued 90 decisions and dealt with 867 viewer enquiries.

The numbers of complaints fell by 30% compared to the previous year. The BSA says the above figures show the standards system is “working well”.

“A reduction in the number of complaints made and the number of complaints upheld indicates that broadcasters are meeting their standards obligations and that the public understands the system and makes quality complaints about appropriate issues,” the report notes.

Following the 15 March 2019 mosque attacks, the BSA engaged with broadcasters promoting the standards as a guide to the challenging task of reporting on terrorism and crisis events. The BSA dealt with four complaints about media coverage of the attacks. The report says the decisions highlight the critical role that media play in reporting during a crisis event and the care and discretion that must be exercised when reporting on terrorism.

“Understanding and responding to harm means that we need to be connected with our community and aware of changing views and attitudes,” says BSA Chair, Judge Bill Hastings.

“The complaints we received in the past year reflect the issues that concern our community and demonstrate that it is important that the public continues to bring important issues to our attention.”

The most complained about programme genre was news and current affairs (68 complaints determined), and the most complained about standard was accuracy (56 complaints determined).