Broadcaster fined for privacy breach

Venkat Raman – 

A local radio broadcasting station has been obliged by the Broadcasting Authority of New Zealand (BSA) to pay $1000 as compensation to a company for breaching privacy law and another sum of $1000 as costs to the Crown.

BSA, in its April 2015 Bulletin, said that it had upheld a complaint filed by the Director of a Company against Apna Networks Limited, which owns Apna 990 AM Radio.

According to the Bulletin, Apna 990 AM had breached Standard 33 of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice during a programme it broadcast on March 7, 2014.

Alleged debt

It said that during a segment on APNA 990, comments were made (in Hindi) about a company that allegedly owed the radio station money, which have been transcribed in English as “The Company (name mentioned) owes money to Radio APNA 990. The company signed a contract in 2011 for which the payment is long due now. If any families of this business are [sic] listening to Radio Apna, then please convey the message to the director to contact us [as soon as possible] to sort out the account. We can arrange an option to settle the account.”

Inappropriate use

“We consider that the actions of Apna in using the airwaves to call on a private business debt amounted to an inappropriate use of airtime. The right to broadcast carries with it privileges and responsibilities, including reasonable consideration of anyone who might be affected by a broadcast. We think that the broadcaster abused this privilege and overlooked its responsibility to maintain standards and to preserve the right of VR (Director of the Company) to privacy,” the Authority said in its verdict.

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