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TV Station Fined for Airing Nina Hartley Interview

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New Zealand – from – – Raunchy footage of a female porn star on TV One’s Close Up program has landed the state-owned broadcaster in hot water with the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

It found the broadcaster’s response to complaints about the interview was insufficient and ordered TVNZ to pay $3000 in costs.

TVNZ had upheld complaints about the interview with porn star Nina Hartley, which screened in August.

The item showed Hartley posing for photo shoots and acting in pornographic movies including footage of her wearing only a push-up bra and a g-string, having her toes sucked by a man, dancing erotically, wearing a see-through gown and lingerie, with her bottom toward the face of a man sitting on a chair behind her, rubbing a man’s groin with her foot as the man ran his hand up her leg, positioned on all fours, swaying her hips from side to side as a man buried his face in between her buttocks, rubbing her bottom against a man’s face while wearing a garter-belt and no underwear, with her pubic hair visible and sitting next to a woman on a couch, and giving the woman a foot massage. A verbal warning preceded the item.

However, TVNZ received complaints saying the footage breached good taste and decency and the show had not taken children’s interests into account as it screened during a time when children could be watching.

TVNZ accepted it had not properly considered the interests of child viewers, the BSA said, and said the “few images” would have offended a significant number of viewers.

The broadcaster upheld the complaint and apologized to the complainants for any offence caused.

It said it had spoken to Close Up about the footage and the show acknowledged it should not have been screened.

TVNZ assured the complainants their concerns were taken seriously and said measures had been discussed with Close Up to prevent the error happening again.

However a Hamilton couple was unhappy with TVNZ’s response and complained to the BSA.

The BSA found TVNZ’s actions were insufficient: “In our view, the item contained raunchy and sexually explicit images. These were not just a ‘few images’, as contended by TVNZ, but were prolonged and sustained.”

The authority said it had previously upheld complaints, in an earlier decision, over images from the film The Vintner’s Luck shown on Close Up.

The scenes contained references to sex, and showed the main characters kissing passionately and the male character putting his head up the female character’s skirt.

The BSA said the images shown during the Hartley interview were far more challenging and sexually explicit than The Vintner’s Luck footage and it should have been clear to TVNZ that they were breaching broadcasting standards.

“We consider that screening these clips from pornographic movies on free-to-air television and in the PGR (parental guidance required) time-band, amounted to an egregious breach of broadcasting standards,” the BSA said.

The broadcast reflected a significant lapse in judgment by TVNZ and suggested Close Up had not introduced any changes following the earlier decision, the BSA said.

TVNZ was ordered to broadcast an agreed and comprehensive summary of the BSA decision on Close Up, and to pay the Crown costs of $3000.

Lobby group Family First said it welcomed the BSA’s finding over the footage, which had offended many families with its gratuitous display of the porn industry.

“The trend by the television networks to sexualise news and current events and use sexual innuendo is disturbing,” national director Bob McCoskrie said.

He said Close Up should apologise on air to families for the breach.


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