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Public Need To Know When Broadcasting Standards For Alcohol Have Been Breached

Alcohol Healthwatch welcomes the decision from the Broadcasting Standards Authority to uphold our complaint regarding a MediaWorks radio station broadcast that advocated excessive alcohol consumption.

Whilst MediaWorks conceded the broadcast in April had breached the Radio Code’s standards around alcohol, Alcohol Healthwatch found the actions taken by the broadcaster less than satisfactory. A complaint was then referred to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Executive Director of Alcohol Healthwatch, Dr Nicki Jackson, said that, “We welcome the initial actions taken by MediaWorks to work with content directors to reinforce the need and importance of appropriate alcohol messaging and the intention to undertake staff training.”

“However, we strongly believe that the seriousness of excessive alcohol consumption in New Zealand warrants further action being taken. Public acknowledgement of the breach of standards is essential. Communities need to be informed when standards have been breached, and broadcasters need to be sincere in taking responsibility for upholding their own standards. Without a public statement, communities could consider it acceptable for radio stations to promote heavy drinking. This further normalises our harmful drinking culture,” says Dr Jackson.

The radio station has been ordered to broadcast a summary of the upheld aspects of the Broadcasting Standards Authority’s decision.

“Broadcasting standards will diminish in meaning if broadcasters such as MediaWorks do not hold themselves accountable to their own industry standards. Alcohol is our most harmful drug in society, and special care must be taken to not contribute further to this harm. We can all play a positive role in creating a healthier future with less alcohol harm” says Dr Jackson.

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