Cunningham v Television New Zealand (16/001)

Content:“Mitchell Pearce stood down over lewd act with dog.”  Thursday, 28 January 2016

Publisher: Television New Zealand, ONE News Now website

Complainant: C. Cunningham

Outcome: No Grounds to proceed

Click here to view full Decision


The Chairman accepted the Complainant was offended by the image of Mitchell Pearce and the headline “Mitchell Pearce stood down over lewd act with dog” which appeared on the front page of the ONE News Now website.

The preliminary comment from TVNZ said the combination of the image and headline was representative of the story, did not require an age restriction and was consistent with the images shown on several other news sites.

In considering whether the content was presented in a way that was likely to cause panic, unwarranted alarm or undue distress, the Chairman held the content was simply reporting news and current affairs which were of high public interest. The Chairman held, that objectively, the image and headline were unlikely to cause unwarranted distress to most readers.

Accordingly, the Chairman ruled the ONE News Now content met the requirements of Standard 5 and there was no breach of the Code of Standards and therefore, no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

Date of Ruling: 29 January 2016