BSA orders Campbell Live to apologise from the grave

Defunct programme still causing headaches for MediaWorks management.

A complaint from the Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) about a Campbell Live episode has been upheld by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA).

The episode was about unresolved Canterbury earthquake insurance claims four years on from the first earthquake. It was broadcast live on the fourth anniversary of the September 4, 2010 earthquake from a Christchurch school hall, with an audience of several hundred local residents who had unresolved insurance claims.

ICNZ complained that the programme breached standards of balance and accuracy because it did not include the insurance industry’s perspective and was misleading about the industry’s and ICNZ’s willingness to participate in the programme.

In its decision, the media watchdog noted Campbell Live’s reputation as a "leading current affairs programme" and that this item was of importance not only to the homeowners in question but also to New Zealanders generally.

"The difficulties Cantabrians still face as a result of the Canterbury earthquakes… are important issues and legitimate to investigate and report on," the BSA said.

The BSA found the programme would not have "enabled viewers to arrive at an informed and reasoned opinion about the progress of the Canterbury recovery."

It claimed the episode did not adequately present an alternative viewpoint to balance the story’s overall message that the insurance industry was "substandard, lamentable and generally failing the people of Canterbury."

The BSA also said it was misleading for the programme to say the insurance industry, and the chief executive of ICNZ in particular, were "not willing to front" as ICNZ had clearly made repeated offers to engage with the programme and to partake in a live interview.

The watchdog ordered MediaWorks to broadcast a statement summarising the upheld aspects of its decision.

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