3 May 2010

TVNZ fined for exposing child viewers to murder talk

4:01 pm on 3 May 2010

Television New Zealand has been fined $2000 for showing a serial killer talking about a murder before the official adult viewing time of 8.30pm.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has upheld a complaint by a woman who says her child was disturbed when they saw the trailer for Real Crime: Interview with a Serial Killer.

In its response to the complainant, TVNZ said that the trailer, which was broadcast in the G (general) timeband at 5.25pm on 16 September last year, was correctly labelled G because it did not contain any violent images.

But the authority says that the man's description of murder, in which he talked about the woman's neck being snapped, was equally powerful in its depiction of violence.

'Serious departure' from standards

The complaint was assessed under the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice, which stipulates that broadcasters should consider the interests of child viewers during children's normally accepted viewing times and avoid screening material that would disturb or alarm them.

Concluding that there had been a "serious departure from broadcasting standards", the authority not only fined TVNZ but said any similar breach in the future would incur a heavier penalty.