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BSA Upholds Alcohol Healthwatch’s Complaint

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has found an item on The Rock FM’s The Morning Rumble amounted to alcohol promotion that was socially irresponsible and ordered costs of $1000.

The Morning Rumble featured an interview in April with a social media influencer about his ability to consume alcohol in record time. He expressed his desire to do nothing but “get pissed” during the COVID-19 level 4 lockdown period.

MediaWorks Radio upheld the complaint in the first instance and apologised for the broadcast. It also said training was being held to ensure employees were aware of the importance of the alcohol standard.

Alcohol Healthwatch then referred the matter to the BSA submitting: “In recognition of the serious harms from alcohol in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the likelihood that many of The Rock’s listeners may be drawn from demographic groups in society that have high rates of hazardous drinking and harm, we feel that the public should be informed of this breach.”

The BSA upheld Alcohol Healthwatch’s complaint that the action taken by MediaWorks was insufficient. It found the item was primarily focused on the interviewee’s drinking feats, portraying drinking as a desirable activity without acknowledging the negative effects.

“The harm caused by the broadcast, and the seriousness of the conduct were at the higher end of the spectrum,” the BSA said.

“A punitive response is required to hold the broadcaster to account.”

The BSA ordered MediaWorks to broadcast a statement, and to pay $1000 costs to the Crown.

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