In an unprecedented ruling, Alt TV has been ordered off air over a programme the Broadcasting Standards Authority found to have encouraged racism.
Bridget Saunders' blog: Poor old Alt
The BSA ruled that Groove in the Park, an Alt TV broadcast of a music event, breached standards of good taste and decency and children's interests and encouraged denigration and discrimination on the basis of race.
The BSA said it considered the extremely serious nature of the breaches and the effect that the broadcast would have had on viewers, particularly children.
Groove in the Park was a G-rated programme broadcast live on Waitangi Day. A viewer complained that during the broadcast text messages of a racist and sexual nature, including explicit language, were run across the screen.
When the Authority considers a complaint alleging a breach of good taste and decency, it is required to take into consideration the context of the broadcast. On this occasion, relevant contextual factors included that Groove in the Park was broadcast live on Waitangi Day, that the broadcast was G-rated, and that the text messages complained about were broadcast between 12pm and 5pm.
Additionally, the broadcast was found to have breached Standard 9 (children's interests) as it screened on a public holiday when children were likely to be watching.
The Authority had never previously ordered a station to stop broadcasting. It has however twice ordered broadcasters to refrain from screening advertising for a period of time.
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