Decisions

Greensmith-West v Television New Zealand (15/011)

Content: “Opinion: Let’s face it, most All Blacks fan’s want to see England humiliated at their own World Cup.” Published Tuesday 29 September, 2015

Publisher: Television New Zealand, ONE News Now Website

Complainant: E. Greensmith-West

Outcome: No Grounds to Proceed

Click here to view full Decision

The Chairman noted the Complainant was offended by the content of the article and it used “unfair stereotyping and makes generalisations about a group of people… incites prejudice and is discriminatory.”

In considering whether the content encouraged discrimination or denigration to a particular part of society, the Chairman first noted it was clearly labelled and presented as opinion. He also took into account that Standard 6 Discrimination and Denigration was not intended to prevent the publication of material which is factual, the expression of genuinely held opinion or the reporting of legitimate humour or satire.

The Chairman concluded that the opinion article used obvious comedic hyperbole to encourage All Blacks supporters to back the Australians over the English in an upcoming Rugby World Cup match. He considered the article was light-hearted in nature and while he acknowledged the offence caused to the Complainant, he was of the view the Complainant’s personal circumstances did not mean the content reached the threshold required to breach Standard 6. It was clearly opinion and saved by a level of humour and did not encourage discrimination against, or denigration of, any section of the New Zealand community on account of nationality.

The Chairman held the opinion piece met the requirements of Standard 6 and there was no breach of the Code of Standards and therefore, no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

Chairman’s Ruling: No Grounds to Proceed

Date of Ruling: 8 October 2015