Bicknell v Television New Zealand (14/010)

Content: Television New Zealand One News website

Publisher: Television New Zealand

Outcome: No Grounds to Proceed

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The Chairman viewed a copy of the content, the complaint and the preliminary comments from Television New Zealand.

The Chairman noted the Second Schedule of the OMSA Constitution set out the jurisdiction of the Complaints Committee which covers news and current affairs content; published online; by any of OMSA’s members that is not subject to a complaint to any other regulator.

The Chairman confirmed that the content complained of had been published online on the webpage for One News, by Television New Zealand, an OMSA member.

The Chairman noted the concerns of the Complainant the content was not news and portrayed Chinese people in a poor light. He further noted the Complainant’s view that the content was unbalanced, discriminatory and “China Bashing.”

Turning to consider the content, the Chairman confirmed it was news and current affairs and disagreed with the Complainant’s interpretation that the article was unbalanced and discriminatory towards Chinese people.

The Chairman said the content did not encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, any section of the New Zealand community on account of race but presented fact. The Chairman noted the intention of Code was not to prevent the publication of material that is factual.

As such, the Chairman said the content was not in breach of Standard 6 or Guideline 6(a) of the Code of Standards. Accordingly, he ruled that the matters raised in the complaint before him did not present an arguable breach of the Code of Standards and there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

Chairman’s Ruling:    No Grounds to Proceed

Date of Decision: 23 July 2014