|Pacific Media Watch|
BSA orders Alt TV off air for five hours
Title -- 5236 NZ: BSA orders Alt TV off air for five hours
Date -- 15 October 2007
Byline -- None
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
Source -- Broadcasting Standards Authority (NZ) 15/10/07
Copyright - BSA
Status -- Unabridged
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BSA ORDERS ALT TV OFF AIR FOR FIVE HOURS
WELLINGTON (BSA/Scoop/Pacific Media Watch): New Zealand's Broadcasting Standards Authority has ordered Alt TV off air for serious breaches of the broadcasting standards.
The authority ruled that Groove in the Park, an Alt TV broadcast of a music event, breached standards of good taste and decency and childrens interests and encouraged denigration and discrimination on the basis of race.
The authority has ordered Alt TV to refrain from broadcasting programmes between 12pm and 5pm this Labour Day and instead display a statement which summarises the authoritys decision and apologises to viewers.
The authority has also ordered Alt TV to pay the maximum award of costs to the crown of $5000.
In reaching its decision on orders, the authority has considered the extremely serious nature of the breaches and the effect that the broadcast would have had on viewers (particularly children).
Groove in the Park was a G-rated programme broadcast live on Waitangi Day. A viewer complained that during the broadcast text messages of a racist and sexual nature, including explicit language, were run across the screen.
When the authority considers a complaint alleging a breach of good taste and decency, it is required to take into consideration the context of the broadcast. On this occasion, relevant contextual factors included that Groove in the Park was broadcast live on Waitangi Day, that the broadcast was G-rated, and that the text messages complained about were broadcast between 12pm and 5pm.
Additionally, the broadcast was found to have breached Standard 9 (childrens interests) as it screened on a public holiday when children were likely to be watching.
The authority considered that broadcasting the race-based comments amounted to a breach of the fairness standards prohibition of denigratory material.
In light of the requirements of the Bill of Rights Act 1991, a high level of invective is necessary to conclude that a broadcast encourages denigration, but on this occasion the threshold was clearly crossed.
The statements supporting death of and violence towards people of particular races could, in the authoritys view, aptly be described as hate speech.
It concluded that the broadcast encouraged denigration of, and discrimination against, sections of the New Zealand community on the basis of race.
The authority has never previously ordered a station to stop broadcasting. It has however twice ordered broadcasters to refrain from screening advertising for a period of time.
* The full decision can be read on www.bsa.govt.nz/decisions/2007/2007-029.htm
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