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Broadcasting Standards Authority: BSA

The BSA was set up under the Broadcasting Act 1989 (external) to oversee the broadcasting standards regime in New Zealand. We do this by deciding complaints that broadcasts have breached standards, by doing research, and also by providing information about broadcasting standards.         

We come under the umbrella of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, and our Minister is the Minister of Broadcasting, the Hon Amy Adams. However, we are an Independent Crown Entity, which means, among other things, that the government cannot direct us in our work.

The Authority board consists of four members who make the decisions about complaints and who govern the BSA itself. We have a small staff who provide support to the members and who run the day-to-day office services.

We are essentially an appeal body, which is why complaints generally go to the broadcaster first (with the exception of privacy issues and election advertisements). Our decisions can be appealed to the High Court.

22 results found

Research projects

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Jul 2017
New Zealanders’ attitudes to their personal social media content and their expectations about how broadcasters can use it, are revealed in new research commissioned by the Broadcasting Standards Authority. The research is the first of its kind to explore whether broadcasters are held to a higher standard by the public when it comes to publishing or republishing social media content. The...
Our lives are now awash with media. Consequently our children are exposed to, or can potentially access more content, from a wider range of media, on an ever-expanding range of devices. But what media are New Zealand children consuming in 2014? How are they accessing it, and how often? What content do they love and seek out, and what might they be missing? What do parents allow and not...
Sep 2013
Warning! The report  – and this page – contain language that some people will find offensive. This report documents the findings of a national survey carried out in March 2013 among 1,500 members of the general public aged 18 years and over. The survey measured how acceptable the public finds the use of swearwords, blasphemies and other expletives in broadcasting. This survey was...
Sep 2011
In the past the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has determined a variety of complaints relating to reality programmes. Such complaints most typically cite issues such as alleged breaches of privacy or unfair treatment. There is, however, very little local research in this area and as a result the BSA undertook a focused project examining the experiences of members of the public filmed as...
Jun 2011
This report presents the findings from a comprehensive three-stage research programme designed to inform and guide the Broadcasting Standards Authority and broadcasters. Talkback radio is an important component of radio programming. One in three New Zealanders listens to talkback radio, and its enthusiasts, defined by their frequent consumption of talkback, are heavy consumers of radio...
May 2010
This review has been commissioned to examine BSA decisions on complaints lodged regarding children as viewers of, and participants in, television broadcasts. In reviewing the decisions the following BSA materials have been accessed:  A DVD containing items about which complaints were lodged  A list of decisions to be reviewed  Decisions downloaded from the BSA website The...
May 2010
We present the findings of qualitative research carried out for the Broadcasting Standards Authority from December 2008 to April 2009 with 14 children and their families. The project sought an in-depth understanding of what youngsters watch on TV, and how they understand and react to various content, particularly bad/offensive language, violence, and sexual material/nudity. The project is part...
Feb 2010
This research explored public awareness of, and satisfaction with, classifications and warnings used on New Zealand free‑to‑air and pay television. The Broadcasting Act 1989 sets out the classification and warning system for television programmes broadcast here. It stipulates the ‘presentation of appropriate warnings in respect of programmes that have been classified as suitable only for...
Warning! These reports and this page contain language that some people will find offensive! This report documents the findings of a national survey carried out in November and December 2009 among 1500 members of the general public aged 18 years and over. This survey measured how acceptable the public finds the use of swear words, blasphemies and other expletives in broadcasting. Where...
May 2009
The Broadcasting Standards Authority (‘BSA’ or ‘the Authority’) asked me to provide an assessment of their decisions from a journalist’s perspective. This report addresses the following questions: • Where is the tension between the ‘bottom-line standards’ for the Authority and the ‘bottom-line standards’ for journalists? • What is the Authority getting right from journalists’ perspective -...

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