NZ Jewish Council lodges complaint of unbalanced Gaza conflict report

August 27, 2015 by Keren Cook
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The New Zealand Jewish Council has made a formal complaint to Radio New Zealand in respect of its Sunday Morning with Wallace Chapman program on August 24, 2014.

Juliet Moses

                            Juliet Moses

Executive officer of the NZ Jewish Council lawyer Juliet Moses, wrote the complaint to the Chief Executive of Radio New Zealand, Mr Paul Thompson on September 18, 2014, on behalf of the Council.

Moses writes: “The Council, along with other members of the Jewish community and supporters of Israel in New Zealand, has become increasingly concerned about the biased and ignorant coverage in the media of matters pertaining to Israel, and no more so than during the Gaza conflict last year.

“As we have seen around the world, this coverage adversely affects the safety and well-being of the Jewish community.

“In the offending broadcast on August 24, 2014, the interviewee, amongst other things, equated Zionism to apartheid and Nazism and referred to Israel’s “genocidal onslaught” in Gaza, and was not questioned or challenged on such statements” wrote Moses.

The council asserted that through broadcasting the Programme, Radio New Zealand breached the following standards of the Broadcasting Standards Authority Code of Broadcasting Practice.

  1. It failed to make reasonable efforts, or give reasonable opportunities, to present significant points of view (standard 4).
  2. It failed to make reasonable efforts to ensure that the material was accurate (standard 5);
  3. It failed to deal fairly with people and organisations referred to (standard 6); and
  4. It encouraged discrimination against, or denigration of, a section of the community on account of sex, sexual orientation, rage, age, disability, occupational status, or as a consequence of legitimate expression of religion, culture or political belief (standard 7).

This month the complaint about unbalanced coverage was upheld as the program “failed to present countering views”.

J-Wire asked Moses for comment today on the success of the complaint being upheld: “The council and other complainant’s felt that this could not be left unchallenged, and, despite successes being notoriously difficult to achieve, complained to the Broadcasting Standards Authority on various grounds including a breach of the “balance standard” says Moses.

Ironically, it appears that the worst ongoing offender on such matters is our very own state broadcaster – Radio New Zealand.

The Broadcasting Standards Association issued a media release on August 20, 2015, saying the complaint was upheld and “failed to present countering views”.

The BSA media release confirms listeners were not able ‘to arrive at an informed and reasoned opinion about the July/August 2014 developments in the Gaza conflict,” the Authority said.

The Authority made no order as Radio New Zealand acknowledged there were issues with how the interview was handled.

Moses is pleased with the outcome and says: “We feel vindicated that the broadcast was found to have breached the balance standard and that the broadcaster was criticised.

“Our hope is that, in future, Radio New Zealand and other broadcasters will think twice, before airing such egregious, unsubstantiated items, and have the processes in place to ensure that it does not occur”.

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