The Broadcasting Standards Authority has declined to uphold complaints that a Campbell Live item on bullying and fighting at Massey High School breached standards of privacy, accuracy, fairness, responsible programming, children's interests and violence.
The item included mobile phone footage of a group of girls fighting which was repeated several times during the item.
The complainants alleged the items presented an unfair and one-sided view of the incident and contained footage that was inaccurate and misleading. They also argued that the students were identifiable and that the footage should have had been preceded by a warning.
The BSA did not accept that the students were identifiable beyond those who would have already known about the fighting, especially as the footage had been posted on social networks.
The complainants argued that the item was unfair in referring to a previous bullying incident but the BSA found that the item did not present itself as a follow-up on that incident but rather a follow-up on whether the school was now a safe environment.
The BSA also found that Massey High School had not been treated unfairly. "While we accept that the item created an impression that there was a culture of fighting and bullying at Massey, this stemmed from the facts of the incident and the personal accounts of the students and parents involved. We are satisfied that Massey was given a fair and reasonable opportunity to comment."
In relation to the violence complaint, the BSA said that while a warning might have been useful, it was satisfied that TV3 exercised adequate care and discretion.
Complaints of breaches of children's interests and responsible programming standards were not upheld with the BSA finding that the item screened during an unclassified current affairs programme targeted at adults and would not have caused panic, unwarranted alarm or undue distress.
The full report is available at www.bsa.govt.nz
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