Media Release Monday 16th November 2015 Embargoed till 1 pmMonday
Right to Life welcomes the decision of the Broadcasting Standards Authority [BSA]
to uphold its complaint against the TV programme Seven Sharp. The decision was given on 10 November 2015. The item
featured the story of a terminally ill woman who is a longstanding campaigner for euthanasia. The item which screened on
16 February 2015, also included a history of the attempts to pass euthanasia legislation in New Zealand and overseas.
The item did not include any information on the views of those opposed to euthanasia such as those being put forward by
the medical profession, disability groups or palliative care specialists.
Right to Life believes that the decision is a wakeup call for the media. The BSA state in their decision, “ [29 ]Our
findings in that case [and others before it] relied on our expectation that balance on this issue would be presented
over time. We considered that to be a reasonable expectation. However, we have not seen this occurring and in our
experience it is not straightforward to seek out the alternative view in TVNZ programmes or in other media The Authority
has determined numerous balance complaints in recent years about programmes which promulgated the pro-euthanasia
position, and we have rarely, if at all, been pointed to evidence of the other view being put forward.”
The Authority upheld the complaint on the grounds that the item lacked balance and was in breach of Standard 4,” which requires that when controversial issues of public importance are discussed in news, current affairs and factual
programmes, broadcasters should make reasonable efforts, or give reasonable opportunities, to present significant points
of view either in the same programme or in other programmes within the period of current interest. The standard exists
to ensure that competing arguments are presented to enable a viewer to arrive at an informed and reasoned opinion.”
Euthanasia is a life and death issue, it is about doctors killing their patients or assisting in their suicide. Right to
Life considers that this decision is a victory for the community. The community has a right to receive factual
information on euthanasia that will enable them to be fully informed. The media make a major contribution to the
formation of public opinion. This entails having a significant responsibility to provide balance. The media should be
informing the community that the overwhelming international response to legalising euthanasia legislation is that this
is simply to dangerous and if introduced many people would lose their lives without their knowledge or consent.. The
most recent rejection of a change to liberalisation of euthanasia laws is that of the UK’s House of Commons which
overwhelming rejected the Marris Assisted Suicide bill in September 2015 330 to 118
The media is at the service of the community. It stands in the watchtower overlooking our community. It has a duty to
warn our community when our freedoms are under attack. Assisting suicide and homicide are serious crimes in the Crimes
Act, Provisions in the Crimes Act against Assisted Suicide and homicide are there to protect the vulnerable in our
community. Why then is the media attempting to undermine these laws? Euthanasia is part of a culture of death. it is
being promoted in this country under the guise of compassion, with arguments designed to make lies sound truthful and
murder respectable. There is no dignity in being murdered by your doctor. Why is the media not standing side by side
with the medical profession which opposed killing as it promotes palliative care at the end of life.
The media should be warning our community of the dire consequences which would follow for the aged, the disabled and
seriously ill, if the law was changed to allow doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide.
Right to Life.