LANGUAGE

Tobacco Institute of New Zealand Limited of Auckland v. Television New Zealand Ltd

The Tobacco Institute of New Zealand (Institute) complained to the Broadcasting Standards Authority of New Zealand (Authority) that Television New Zealand (TVNZ) had broadcasted a documentary about the tobacco industry, which allegedly portrayed tobacco industry executives in an inaccurate and unbalanced manner and encouraged employment discrimination of Maori women by depicting them as heavy smokers. The Institute claimed that such distortions violated broadcasting laws, which require standards of accuracy and reasonableness in reporting. The Authority dismissed the complaint, finding TVNZ did not present inaccurate information because the documentary adequately distinguished statements of opinion from fact. The Authority also found that TVNZ had not presented an unbalanced depiction of the tobacco industry because TVNZ's focus on the industry was "peripheral" to the program's larger anti-smoking theme. The Authority further found that the comments made about Maori women and smoking were too tenuous to subject Maori women to employment discrimination.