Anderson v MediaWorks (16/016)

Content: “Extreme body piercing: Shocking photos of body suspension”.

Publisher: MediaWorks,

Complainants: A. Anderson

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The Chairman accepted the Complainant was offended by the graphic body piercing images in the article and was of the view it encouraged young people to self-harm.

The Chairman considered in the context of the article in its entirety and the nature and images presented. He noted the warning in the title and at the beginning of the article which signalled to readers the content was shocking and graphic in nature. He said the majority of readers of the Newshub website would be adults and that children were not the website’s target demographic.

While the Chairman acknowledged the images were graphic, he said they were not sexual or violent in nature as implied by Complainant. He said the body of the article gave clear context to the fact the woman was a willing participant and, despite the Complainant’s concerns, there was no “cutting” shown or referenced in the article whatsoever.

Accordingly, the Chairman ruled the warnings were sufficient as the content subject to complaint did not reach the threshold to effect a breach of Standard 5 and guidelines 5e and 5f and there was no breach of the Code of Standards. The Chairman ruled there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

Ruling Date: 14 June 2016

Chairman’s Ruling: No Grounds to Proceed