(Drafted by the [commercial] Radio Broadcasters Association and [public] Radio New Zealand, to ensure compliance with the 1989 Broadcasting Act law and social responsibility.)
Under the Broadcasting Act 1989, each broadcaster is responsible for maintaining in its programmes and their presentation standards which are consistent with:
a) The observance of good taste and decency;
b) The maintenance of law and order;
c) The privacy of the individual;
d) The principle that when controversial issues of public importance are discussed, reasonable efforts are made, or reasonable opportunities are given, to present significant points of view either in the same programme or in other programmes within the period of current interest.
The Act also established a Broadcasting Standards Authority which is responsible for administering the standards regime.
The Act records a number of matters about which Codes can be developed.
Fundamental to broadcasters, and to the Authority’s activities, is the right to the freedom of expression which is referred to in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.
The Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice has been prepared by the Radio Broadcasters Association and Radio New Zealand Ltd on behalf of commercial broadcasters and RNZ, and aims to ensure compliance with the law, prevention of misleading or deceptive practices, and social responsibility.
Grounds for a Formal Complaint
Formal complaints are to be made on the basis that the broadcaster has failed in its responsibility to maintain the standards listed in Principle 1 to Principle 8 below. The guidelines are included to assist complainants, broadcasters and the Authority in applying the Principles to the specific complaint.
In determining complaints, emphasis will be placed on the Principles, and the spirit and the intentions of the standards which each Principle incorporates.
A programme which does not adhere to the letter of a particular guideline may not be in breach, depending on the programme's overall compliance with the Principles.
In programmes and their presentation, broadcasters are required to maintain standards which are consistent with the observance of good taste and decency.
1a Broadcasters will take into consideration current norms of decency and good taste in language and behaviour bearing in mind the context in which any language or behaviour occurs and the wider context of the broadcast eg time of day, target audience.
In programmes and their presentation, broadcasters are required to maintain standards which are consistent with the maintenance of law and order.
2a Care should be taken in broadcasting items which explain the technique of crime in a manner which invites imitation.
In programmes and their presentation, broadcasters are required to maintain standards consistent with the privacy of the individual.
3a Broadcasters shall apply the privacy principles developed by the Broadcasting Standards Authority and applied when determining privacy complaints.
In programmes and their presentation, broadcasters are required to maintain standards consistent with the principle that when controversial issues of public importance are discussed, reasonable efforts are made, or reasonable opportunities are given, to present significant points of view either in the same programme or in other programmes within the period of current interest.
4a Broadcasters will respect the rights of individuals to express their own opinions.
4b Broadcasters may have regard, when ensuring that programmes comply with principle 4, to the following matters:
(i) An appropriate introduction to the programme; and
(ii) Any reasonable on-air opportunity for listeners to ask questions or present rebuttal within the period of current interest. Broadcasters may have regard to the views expressed by other broadcasters or in the media which listeners could reasonably be expected to be aware of.
In programmes and their presentation, broadcasters are required to deal justly and fairly with any person taking part or referred to.
5a No telephone conversation will be recorded or broadcast for the purpose of news, current affairs or any other programme, unless the recipient has been advised that it is being recorded for possible broadcast, or is aware that the conversation is being broadcast. Exceptions may apply depending upon the context of the broadcast, including the legitimate use of humour.
5b Care must be taken in the editing of programme material to ensure that the extracts used are a true reflection and not a distortion of the original event or the overall views expressed.
5c Programmes shall not be presented in such a way as to cause panic, or unwarranted alarm or undue distress.
In the preparation and presentation of news and current affairs programmes, broadcasters are required to be truthful and accurate on points of fact.
6a Broadcasters will not use deceptive programme practices.
6b In the event of an allegation of inaccuracy, broadcasters will act promptly to check the allegation against the original broadcast, and will broadcast with similar prominence a suitable and appropriately scheduled correction if that is found to be justified.
6c Factual reports on the one hand, and opinion, analysis and comment on the other, shall be clearly distinguished.
6d Broadcasters shall ensure that the editorial independence and integrity of news and current affairs is maintained.
In programmes and their presentation, broadcasters are required to be socially responsible.
7a Broadcasters will not portray people in a manner which encourages denigration of or discrimination against any section of the community on account of gender, race, age, disability, occupational status, sexual orientation; or as the consequence of legitimate expression of religious, cultural or political beliefs. This requirement does not extend to prevent the broadcast of material which is:
i) factual; or
ii) a genuine expression of serious comment, analysis or opinion, or
iii) is by way of legitimate humour or satire.
7b Broadcasters shall be mindful of the effect any programme may have on children during their normally accepted listening times.
7c The time of transmission is an important consideration in the scheduling of programmes which contain violent themes.
7d If a programme is likely to disturb, an appropriate warning should be broadcast.
7e Broadcasters shall ensure that the incidental promotion of liquor is minimised.
7f Advertisements and infomercials shall be clearly distinguishable from other programme material.
For a period of 35 days after broadcast, broadcasters are required to be able to provide a copy of the tapes of all open line and talk back programmes, and all outside broadcast news and current affairs coverage. For the same period, broadcasters are also required to retain, or be able to obtain, a tape or script of all news or current affairs items.
8a In the event of a formal complaint, broadcasters will retain all relevant programme information, records and recordings until the complaint has been finally dealt with.
8b Tapes and transcripts required pursuant to Principle 8 and all relevant information retained in the event of a formal complaint shall be made available to the Broadcasting Standards Authority on the Authority’s written request.