TV Watchdog Fails Families, No Longer Fit For Purpose

Media Release 5 April 2018
In a stunning admission, the Broadcasting Standards Authority have said that they “do not have a general supervisory role”, and have endorsed a programme with an “unusually large volume of complaints” and which had a number of corporate businesses asking for their advertising to be removed from the programme. The BSA has rejected multiple complaints about TVNZ’s “Naked Attraction” series.

The BSA in their decision admitted that the programme went a step further than where broadcasters have trodden before…” and that “Each programme was visually explicit to a level not in our experience seen on New Zealand free-to-air television before. Verbal discussions and descriptions were also explicit…”

Other significant statements made by the BSA in their decision include:

  • The level of nudity in Naked Attraction went beyond what most viewers would be accustomed to on free-to-air television in New Zealand. As the complainants have pointed out in their submissions, and as reported elsewhere, the first episode broadcast on 27 October 2017 included 282 shots of male genitalia and 96 of female genitalia.
  • The extent of nudity in this programme was exceptionally high.
  • …unusual levels of explicit nudity…
  • …Some viewers may have found the more detailed descriptions of sexual preferences and activity by the participants unduly confronting”

“The BSA has become de-sensitised to what are community standards, and by their own admission they have effectively retired themselves from their role. This decision was a litmus test of whether families can rely on the watchdog to act in the best interests of families and society in general or whether broadcasters have free reign to push the boundaries as far as they want. The broadcasters have won and families have received notice,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The BSA has also demonstrated their naivety in not understanding the access young people can have to on-demand services, whilst also acknowledging that “children may stay up later on the weekend…”

“This is all part of the ‘pornification’ of our culture led by broadcasters and advertisers, with the watchdog asleep at the wheel. Family First was swamped with complaints from families after the broadcasts of “Naked Attraction”, including medical professionals, horrified by how the standards of free-to-air television have hit rock bottom because of this show.” 

“Naked Attraction is saturated with full-frontal nudity. The show degrades human relationships to animalistic instinct, and promotes voyeurism and a porn culture which is harming our society. It is shocking that a state broadcaster is trying to outdo sites like PornHub and porn magazines.”

A number of advertisers have asked for their advertising to be removed from the programme after being contacted by supporters of Family First. A spokesperson for The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery said “As of today all future placements in this series have been removed…” Fonterra said, “We agree this type of show is definitely not aligned with our brand strategy, and we have implemented a new process to ensure this doesn’t happen again.” A spokesperson for Lotto said “In light of feedback about last Friday night’s placement, our Marketing team are reviewing our placement policies to ensure our advertising placements align with our brand values.” Emirates and Rebel Sport has also asked for their advertising to be removed from the programme.

In response to a request under the Official Information Act, TVNZ told Family First, “The TVNZ Complaints Committee received 536 formal complaints for Naked Attraction in late 2017.”  

“Families should take this decision as a clear warning that broadcasters now have free reign to broadcast any material previously deemed out-of-bounds, and that the watchdog can no longer be relied upon to enforce appropriate community standards.”

READ Family First’s Submission
READ Family First’s letter to the Minister of Broadcasting

Naked Attraction OK, needs stronger warning, Broadcasting Standards Authority says
Stuff 5 April 2018

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