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Coro Street's lesbian kiss complaints rejected

Published: 8:04AM Tuesday May 08, 2012 Source: ONE News

A lesbian kiss which featured on an episode of Coronation Street last year did not breach broadcasting standards, the Broadcasting Standards Authority has ruled.

The long-running British show aired a smooch between characters Sophie Webster and her friend Sian Powers last year.

The lesbian kiss prompted complaints by some viewers when it was featured in a 5.30pm timeslot, after the show moved from its usual 7.30pm slot.

The complainants alleged the scene breached standards of good taste and decency, responsible programming, children's interests and standards relating to controversial issues.

The BSA found that the scene consisted of a brief, relatively innocuous kiss between two young women, who were sitting on a couch and fully clothed.

"The Authority has previously declined to uphold complaints about characters kissing during G programmes," it said.

"We also agree with TVNZ that the mere fact that the kiss was between two women does not make it less acceptable.

"We do not consider that most viewers would have been offended by the scene or that it threatened current norms of good taste and decency."

Programmes that screen at 5.30pm have to be rated for a general audience, which means networks should exclude material "likely" to be unsuitable for children, according to the BSA.

The BSA was satisfied that the kissing scene was not unsuitable for any unsupervised child viewers and did not warrant a higher classification of PGR, or a later time of broadcast.

Music video

The BSA has upheld a complaint about the video for LMFAO's song Shots, which was broadcast at 7pm on C4.

The complainant alleged the music video breached standards relating to liquor, children's interests, discrimination and denigration, and good taste and decency.

The BSA upheld the complaints relating to liquor and children's interests saying that the video showed a band at a party where a large number of people were drinking, and that when women drink alcohol in these circumstances they become sexually promiscuous and available for sex.

It found that the song clearly portrayed excessive alcohol consumption as positive and desirable and therefore was not socially responsible, and also contained offensive language.

The BSA said the broadcaster did not adequately consider children's interests and that it is right to freedom of expression did not outweigh the importance of protecting child viewers from this type of content.

Earthquake prediction story "unnecessarily alarmist"

The BSA has also upheld a complaint that a TV3 News item about another big earthquake was inaccurate.

It included an interview with Christchurch University scientist Mark Quigley who had been looking at a marked increase in seismic activity at a fault off the eastern coastline.

The complainant said Quigley was misquoted about the likelihood of a magnitude 7 earthquake because he was very vague about the possibility of any activity at all from the group of faults.

Quigley made references to a magnitude 7 earthquake in the extended interview which was available on line.

The BSA said it had to consider whether the off-screen comments justified the statement made in the introduction to the story that "it's just what Christchurch does not want to hear, warnings that a big one, seven on the Richter scale, is probably coming."

The authority said the item, broadcast in January, overstated the prediction and was "unnecessarily alarmist".

The BSA did not make orders and said TV3 took a number of steps throughout the week to mitigate any alarm by presenting alternative views.

Meanwhile, the BSA has declined to uphold a complaint that an Inside New Zealand documentary breached standards of law and order, and fairness.

The documentary Inside Child Poverty was broadcast on TV3 on November 22, just before the general election.