Harding V MediaWorks (16/009)

Content: “Police appalled by ‘alcohol-fuelled bravado” Thursday, 20 March 2016

Publisher: MediaWorks, Newshub website

Complainant: S. Harding

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The Chairman accepted the Complainant was offended by the length and violent nature of the video in the article.

The Chairman took into account the preliminary comment from MediaWorks which said the video “was challenging but it was quite clearly relevant to the item and justified in the public interest”. The Publisher said the lead in by the publisher to the video on the news item “gave a clear indication as to the nature of the upcoming fight footage, giving users sufficient information to make a viewing decision based on their own sensibilities: ‘Newshub has obtained the shocking video of… a large brawl in Fort Street that lasted several minutes’.  The nature of the footage was also made clear by the accompanying text article”.

The Chairman said concerns about the material as it was broadcast, including the timing, fell outside the jurisdiction of the Online Media Standards Authority. The Chairman confirmed where previously broadcast material was made available on one of its members websites, a complaint could be considered by OMSA in relation to the online environment.

The Chairman assessed the context in which the violent content was shown concluded said the nature of the material was justified in the public interest. The Chairman also took into account the long lead into the story from both presenters and considered there was sufficient warning for the viewer.

Accordingly, the Chairman ruled the content subject to complaint met the requirements of Standards 5 and Guidelines 5e and 5f, there was no breach of the Code of Standards and therefore, no grounds for the complaint to proceed.

Ruling Date: 31 March 2016

Outcome: No Grounds to Proceed