In a media release issued today, Family First NZ, a registered charity with the Charities Commission, has criticised the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) for refusing name suppression sought by a complainant.
It says that potential complainants may not speak up and complain about breaches of broadcasting standards as a result of the BSA refusing to grant name suppression to complainants.
“It takes a lot of courage for complainants to speak up about broadcasting breaches and it serves no purpose for their names to be broadcast or printed in the media. Families will be less inclined to speak up if they know they will have their name splashed across the media, and especially where they are complaining about what they consider a moral issue which they feel strongly about,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. Family First is referring to a decision released today regarding a Prime TV programme on the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra which included references to sexual activity and bodily functions where the complainants requested name suppression but were refused by the BSA.
“The programmers, producers and schedulers responsible for broadcasting the material are often able to hide behind a mask of anonymity, but complainants have no similar right,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“The issue is not who complained, but whether the complaint was warranted. This is no different to Crimestoppers, CYF, the Department of Labour, and the IRD – all which allow for anonymous complaints.”
“The BSA should focus on the merits of the complaint, not the identity of the complainant. And complainants should be given the right to ask for name suppression.”