New Zealand Law Society - Sex scenes in Māori TV’s Albanian film acceptable, says BSA

Sex scenes in Māori TV’s Albanian film acceptable, says BSA

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

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has ruled that sexual material in a foreign language film is not in breach of good taste and decency broadcasting standards.

The BSA has not upheld a complaint that the broadcast of the Albanian comedy, East West East: The Final Sprint.

The film, broadcast on Māori Television at 8.30pm during the school holidays, followed a cycle team as they made their way to France to compete, only to learn that a revolution was underway in Albania, to which they returned. The film featured brief sexual scenes and material, which the complainant argued was offensive and unacceptable for broadcast during the school holidays.

The film was preceded by a verbal and written audience advisory, in both English and te reo Māori:

“AO – This programme is recommended for adults only viewing. Certain scenes and language may offend.”

The Authority found that the information provided in the programme description, warning and time of broadcast sufficiently notified viewers of the potential for adult themes, including sexual material.

“The more challenging sexual material was not broadcast until later in the film, and the initial sexual scene (which included passionate kissing and a topless female character), would have signalled to viewers that the film contained sexual material suitable only for adults,” its finding says.

The BSA found that the sexual content was relatively brief, was not gratuitous and was primarily used in the film for comedic effect. As such, the scenes were in keeping with the film’s quirky humour.

Wrong information

The BSA has upheld a complaint about an RNZ News bulletin on the Police Association’s view that a recent spate of police shootings was the result of ‘too many firearms getting into the wrong hands’.

During the bulletin, the presenter said: “The Association’s President… says more than 20,000 firearms, including semi-automatic military weapons, are stolen or sold to offenders each year.”

The Authority upheld a complaint that the presenter’s reference to more than 20,000 firearms being stolen or sold to offenders was inaccurate. According to the Police Association, the President should have been quoted as saying ‘over 50,000 firearms enter the country each year, a number of which are stolen or sold to offenders’.

While the broadcaster attempted to correct the quote in the online version of the story after the broadcast, the amendment did not correct the error, and in the Authority’s view RNZ’s audience was misled as a result.