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BSA finds ‘authentic’ interview language no breach

The Broadcasting Standards Authority has not upheld a complaint about an interviewee’s use of the phrase ‘for Christ’s sake’ during an item on 1 News.

The item reported on the outbreak of a cattle disease on a farm in South Canterbury, and featured an interview with a farmer in the region. In response to the suggestion that the infected herd should be culled, he expressed his support for the farm owners and said, ‘for Christ’s sake, don’t let these people in here try and get up good farmers’.

The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the use of the expression ‘for Christ’s sake’ was offensive and unacceptable to broadcast when children might be viewing.

The Authority found that this item was in the public interest and had high value in terms of the right to freedom of expression. It informed viewers about an important issue in New Zealand, and allowed viewers to hear from those affected first-hand and in their own words.

“It is important for viewers to hear New Zealand stories directly from New Zealanders, and there is high value in the use of the authentic New Zealand voice in news reporting,” the Authority said.

The Authority acknowledged that some people may find the use of the expression ‘for Christ’s sake’ offensive, but stated that “expressions of this nature are commonly used as exclamations, without any intention to be offensive.” The expression was used by the farmer in this item to express his frustration at the way the disease outbreak was being handled, and in strong defence of the farm owners. The Authority found that the broadcast was not in breach of the good taste and decency and children’s interests standards.

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