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BSA upholds Campbell Live complaint

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has upheld a complaint about a Campbell Live episode about unresolved Canterbury earthquake insurance claims four years on from the first earthquake.

The episode was broadcast live on the fourth anniversary of the 4 September 2010 earthquake from a Christchurch school hall with an audience of several hundred local residents who had unresolved insurance claims.

The BSA upheld the Insurance Council of New Zealand’s (ICNZ) complaint that the programme breached standards of balance and accuracy because it did not include the insurance industry’s perspective and was misleading about the industry’s and ICNZ’s willingness to participate in the programme.

The Authority in its decision noted Campbell Live’s reputation as a ‘leading current affairs programme’ and that this item was of importance not only to the homeowners in question but to New Zealanders generally. ‘The difficulties Cantabrians still face as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes… are important issues and legitimate to investigate and report on,’ the BSA said.

However the Authority found the programme would not have ‘enabled viewers to arrive at an informed and reasoned opinion about the progress of the Canterbury recovery’ because it did not adequately present an alternative viewpoint to balance the story’s overall message that the insurance industry was ‘substandard, lamentable and generally failing the people of Canterbury’.

The Authority also found that it was misleading for the programme to say that the insurance industry, and the Chief Executive of ICNZ in particular, were ‘not willing to front’ as ICNZ had clearly made repeated offers to engage with the programme and to partake in a live interview.

The Authority ordered MediaWorks to broadcast a statement summarising the upheld aspects of its decision.

The full decision is available at http://bsa.govt.nz/decisions/latest

About The Broadcasting Standards Authority
The Broadcasting Standards Authority is an independent body that oversees the broadcasting standards regime in New Zealand. We do this by determining complaints that broadcasts have breached standards, by doing research and also by providing information about broadcasting standards.

We are essentially an appeal body, which is why complaints generally go to the broadcaster first (with the exception of privacy issues and election advertisements).

The Authority members who determined this complained were Peter Radich (chair), Mary Anne Shanahan, Leigh Pearson and Te Rau Kupenga.

For more information see our website: www.bsa.govt.nz.

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