Seven Sharp tops complaints list

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 29/12/2013

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Current affairs programme Seven Sharp was the most controversial TV show of the year, according to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

The magazine show attracted more complaints than any other programme for the six months to October 18, according to information released under the Official Information Act.

The BSA received 68 complaints about radio and television content for the six-month period.

The complaints were triggered by everything from a "racial profiling game" on the ZM morning radio show to "peanut butter smeared on the face of a person with an allergy" on children's show What Now.

Michael Laws calling someone with dementia a "zombie" on his talkback radio show and the use of the word "fag" in The Carrie Diaries on TVNZ also sparked complaints.

But Seven Sharp took top place, attracting 13 complaints during the period. A satirical item making fun of Conservative Party leader Colin Craig triggered five complaints, while a separate item on Craig's views on same-sex marriage received two more complaints.

The show also attracted a complaint for using the Prodigy song Smack My Bitch Up during an item about violence towards women.

TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards said the broadcaster was "quite pleased" with the number of complaints and she was somewhat surprised there were not more.

"Over the course of half a year that's not a bad score for a programme that's new and different at the 7pm slot," she said. "It takes viewers some time to adjust."

Richards said at least complaints meant people were watching the show - it had suffered in its early days from an audience dropoff.

One News received the second-highest number of complaints. The news show received seven complaints over the same period for everything from referring to the Treaty of Waitangi as the "nation's founding document" to footage of Miley Cyrus twerking at the MTV Awards - twerking involves a considerable amount of jiggling one's bottom in the air.

WHAT PEOPLE COMPLAINED ABOUT

Seven Sharp:

Presenter's comment "wet fart in a wedding dress" – ruled immature, crude and a departure from the language of primetime news, but not a breach of standards.

Shortland Street:

A character threw a cigarette butt on the ground – ruled that it would not have offended most viewers and did not encourage viewers to break the law.

Radio talkback:

Caller claimed Prince Charles raped Diana – ruled the conversation was not unduly offensive in the context of a late-night talkback programme, and the host acted responsibly by asking the caller to clarify her point.

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One News:

Footage of Miley Cyrus twerking at the MTV Awards – ruled provocative and challenging but relevant as it illustrated for viewers why the performance had attracted worldwide publicity.

C4:

Lana Del Ray song lyrics "let's go get high" allegedly encouraging drug use – ruled no breach of standards as the lyrics and footage did not glamorise drug use nor encouraged viewers to break the law. 

- © Fairfax NZ News

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