Broadcasters better behaved, says BSA

ROB KIDD
Last updated 12:38 20/11/2012

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The Broadcasting Standards Authority has seen a drop in complaints in the last year, something it's putting down to better behaved broadcasters.

The authority, which ensures television and radio do not breach standards, received 195 complaints and issued 162 decisions in the last year, compared to last year's record highs when 236 decision were made.

Chief Executive Susan Freeman-Greene said while it was pleasing that complaints had reduced, it was too early to say if it was a trend.

"We believe that if the system is working well, complaints will drop over time. The implication of this is that broadcasters breach codes less often, the public are better able to identify breaches and the broadcasters' own complaints processes are more effective, prompting fewer referral to us," she said.

A heated discussion on RadioLive about the Ports of Auckland dispute feature in the authority's latest released decision.

Host Willie Jackson made controversial comments in support of striking workers which prompted a complaint that he incited physical violence and the destruction of personal property

However, the authority said the comments were made during a "robust discussion" with co-host John Tamihere and was followed shortly afterwards with a media statement saying that the words should not be taken as a call for violent action.

"We think most listeners would have judged this broadcast to be good humoured, provocative verbal sparring. It was a kind of letting off of steam. It was not serious advocacy of violence. It was the sort of ranting that our society is willing to allow and not take seriously, particularly on talkback radio," the authority said upon dismissing the complaint.

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