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News Item on Child Abuse Draws Formal Complaint

Crass’ News Item on Child Abuse Draws Formal Complaint

Family First NZ has laid an official complaint with the Broadcasting Standards Authority over a disgraceful TV3 Nightline news story1 broadcast on the day before Christmas Eve which trivialised and made light of child sex abuse.

"It was broadcast only 24 hours after it had been revealed2 that the horrendous case of child abuse of a West Auckland 9 year old that had shocked the nation also involved sexual abuse by a CYF caregiver. It was also introduced by the presenter with the pun 'a touching Christmas story'," says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

"It was crass, completely inappropriate, and offensive to many people who would have been shocked, revolted and upset by the revelations of severe and long-term abuse of a nine year old which was in the news."

"This continues the disturbing trend of sexualising news items and coverage which Family First has been highlighting to the BSA. Other examples include full frontal nudity, sexual comments relating to MP Shane Jones' credit card use, and Close Up 's story on the porn industry which TVNZ subsequently apologised for3."

"The lame defence offered by the broadcaster will be 'it's after 8.30pm - we can do what we like' - but it was school holiday time so children would be viewing later, it was supposed to be a news programme, and most disturbingly, it made light and was completely offensive about a serious issue which was also currently very strong in the mind of the nation and media," says Mr McCoskrie.

"It is time that the BSA stopped turning a blind eye to the sexualisation of news items, and the trivialisation of horrific and sensitive issues such as child abuse and pornography."

"TV3 should hang their head in shame for such offensive and insensitive programming, but unfortunately this type of programming is part of an industry-wide trend which the BSA have failed to tackle – and families are the losers.”

1. http://www.3news.co.nz/Former-Shortland-St-star-finds-special-Christmas-role/tabid/418/articleID/192288/Default.aspx
2. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10695892
3. http://www.familyfirst.org.nz/issues/close_up
The script included :
I'll tell my dad you tried to touch me
What - I didn't touch you
Yes you did, you touched me down there
That\'s bullsh*t you f*ckin liar kid

and the actor concluded in an almost humorous and light hearted manner:
I didn’t really... touch her


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