Complaint against Nine to Noon upheld

NICOLE PRYOR
Last updated 13:34 25/11/2013

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A complaint made about a Radio New Zealand show's discussion about the three strikes law has been partially upheld by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA).

Former Act MP David Garrett complained to the authority about the Nine To Noon show that aired in May, saying discussion about the Sentencing and Parole Reform Act 2010 was inaccurate, misleading, unfair, and irresponsible.

Joining the presenter on the show was a professor of criminology who opposed the law, and the lawyer of an offender on his second strike.

Garrett said the item was unbalanced because it did not air any viewpoints in favour of the legislation.

Radio New Zealand (RNZ) itself upheld part of the complaint, finding the presenter's introduction was inaccurate.

The presenter claimed in the introduction there was no possibility of parole for offenders on their third strike, but there was an exception in the law where the sentence could be found "manifestly unjust."

Despite RNZ's response, Garrett referred other aspects of the complaint to the BSA, that were upheld under accuracy and balance standards.

"We have found that the broadcast did not contain sufficient balancing comment to enable listeners to arrive at an informed and reasoned opinion about the 'three strikes' law and whether it was operating as intended," the BSA ruled.

"The programme omitted any alternative voice to counteract the one-sided statements made by the panellists, and the presenter failed to adequately challenge those statements."

Other parts of Garrett's complaint, about fairness and responsible programming, were not upheld.

The BSA said RNZ's website should contain either a statement, or a link to the decision, alongside the audio for as long as it was online.

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