2 Jul 2009

TV3 escapes big fine for Sunday ads during World Cup

6:49 pm on 2 July 2009

Television network TV3 has escaped fines of up to $300,000 for broadcasting ads on Sunday mornings during the last Rugby World Cup.

The Ministry of Culture and Heritage took the action and TV3 was convicted of three breaches of the Broadcasting Act.

In a decision from Auckland District Court released on Thursday, the judge says a conviction and discharge is an appropriate penalty.

The ruling states it achieves the aim of denouncing the conduct and deterring the defendant or any other broadcaster from doing the same thing in the future.

TV3 was ordered to pay $130 in court costs and solicitor costs of $5,000.

Rick Friesen, who was TV3's chief operating officer at the time, says there is no reason for the ad restriction on Sunday mornings and the law is outdated.

Mr Friesen is now chief executive of the Television Broadcasters Council, which he says shares TV3's view on the matter.

The Ministry for Culture and Heritage says it maintains its regret with TV3's decision to broadcast the ads on a Sunday morning.

Ministry chief executive Lewis Holden says as the organisation charged with administering the statute, the ministry was obliged to act in response to an apparent breach.

Mr Holden says he is satisfied that the court upheld the ministry's interpretation of the law.