30 July 2019
BSA finds ‘The Long Lunch’ interview with Ross Campbell breaches broadcasting standards
The Broadcasting Standards Authority has found an interview between Wendyl Nissen and Horowhenua District Councillor
Ross Campbell was unbalanced, misleading and unfair.
The programme featured an interview with Cr Campbell, who talked about his decision to wear a body camera to Council
meetings after what was described as incidents of bullying towards him. During the broadcast Cr Campbell described one
of the alleged incidents of bullying and his subsequent complaint to the Police, which led to Cr Campbell wearing the
body camera. The Authority found the broadcast was likely to mislead audiences by giving the impression that HDC had a
systemic culture of bullying.
“Statements by [programme host] Ms Nissen… combined with the absence of any acknowledgement that the HDC has a
contrasting view of the events, gave the impression that a culture of bullying existed within HDC. However, this had not
been investigated or verified by MediaWorks, HDC’s perspective had not been sought and no alternative views were
presented,” the Authority said.
The Authority also found the interview required the acknowledgement or broadcast of other perspectives in relation to
the alleged culture of bullying at the HDC and the incidents Cr Campbell described to Ms Nissen.
“This broadcast had the potential to give listeners the impression that the HDC had a culture of bullying that had been
allowed to flourish, therefore balancing comment was required to allow listeners to arrive at an informed and reasoned
opinion,” the Authority said.
Finally the Authority acknowledged that MediaWorks accepted that comment should have been sought from the HDC prior to
the broadcast and that the failure to do so resulted in an unfair broadcast. However, the Authority ultimately found the
action taken by MediaWorks in an attempt to remedy the unfairness caused was insufficient.
In its decision, the Authority emphasised the role of the media in scrutinising and holding public institutions to
account. However, the Authority also acknowledged the significant risk of harm due to the potential for unfair,
unbalanced or inaccurate criticism that can mislead the public and unduly damage the reputation of, and public trust in,
The Authority ordered that a broadcast statement be aired by MediaWorks on Magic Talk to remedy the potential harm