The Manager Media Works,
I wish to lodge a formal complaint on behalf of Right to Life against an item on the decriminalisation of abortion that featured on the Project at 7 PM on 13 March, 2019. Note: Facebook link
My complaint is that the item breached the Broadcasting Standards Authority’s standards Standard 6 Discrimination and Denigration, Standard 8 Balance and Standard 9 Accuracy.
Standard 6 Discrimination. The presenter, Jessie Mulligan, made a statement and asked “surely not all those ‘who were opposed to the decriminalisation of abortion’ were “hard core religious types and weirdos.”
This statement denigrates those who are opposed to the killing of the unborn who are the weakest and most defenceless members of the human family. Why is it weird to defend the right to life of the voiceless? Why is it weird to recognise abortion as violence against women? There are many women who have had an abortion and who are now living a life of grief, sorrow and regret and who now seek to protect other women from the violence of abortion. The statement was discriminatory as it seeks to silence and deny the right of those who are opposed to abortion to be heard. Opposition to the violence of abortion is not a religious issue, one does not have to be religious to be opposed to violence against women and their unborn.
I believe that justice demands that Mr Mulligan now makes a public apology on the Project programme to the thousands of viewers who he has offended and insulted.
The most dangerous place for a New Zealander today is in the mother’s womb.The item confirms and perpetuates the ultimate discrimination against the unborn that only those who are wanted have a right to life and those who are classified as “unwanted”, may be killed.
Standard 8 Balance. The item lacked balance as it was evident that the proposal to decriminalise abortion had the open support of all the presenters. It is contended that the ethics of the journalism profession requires that journalists adopt a neutral stance on contentious social issues.
A female presenter stated that she had terminated the life of her second child because it was unwanted and supported the decriminalisation of abortion. There are many women in our community who have had an abortion who regret it and are opposed to the decriminalisation of abortion. To achieve balance why was such a woman not interviewed?
The Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, was interviewed on his plans to present a bill to decriminalise abortion. To achieve balance, why was there no interview of an opposition MP to present a case to oppose decriminalisation?
The CEO of Family Planning, Jacki Edmund, was interviewed for 2 minutes and 14 seconds making claims that the current legislation violated human rights and should be taken out of the Crimes Act. Abortion is in the Crimes Act, Crimes against the person Part VIII. Section 182 Killing unborn child and is a crime to kill an unborn child. To achieve balance, why was there no person from the pro-life movement interviewed to challenge the false statements made by Edmund? Why too did the presenters fail to ask Edmund to justify her contention that abortion should be taken out of the Crimes Act and for the killing of an unborn child to no longer be a crime? There is no United Nations convention or law in New Zealand that supports abortion as a human right. Why did the presenter fail to challenge Edmund on the accuracy of her statements?
The item lacked balance as the introduction to the item showed a small number of abortion supporters holding placards in support of abortion. To show balance why were there no shots showing the more that 1,200 people, young and old, who joyfully and peacefully marched on Parliament on Saturday 8th December 2018, defending life, supporting women and opposing the decriminalisation of abortion?
Standard 9 Accuracy. The item was misleading in that it promoted the proposition that abortion should not be in the Crimes Act without addressing why abortion is in the Crimes Act. The law recognises that the state has an interest and a duty to protect the lives of its future citizens. It also recognises in sections 182 and 183 that the unborn child has a right to be born. This protection has been there since 1856. The Crimes Act declares that it is a serious crime to kill an unborn child. There was no attempt in this programme to produce evidence to support the claim made by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice that abortion should not be a crime ie that it is no longer a crime to kill an unborn child. It should be known that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice when asked recently by Right to Life under the Official Information Act what evidence they had to support their claim that it was not a crime to kill an unborn child replied that they had no evidence and that it was just their opinion.
The Project team are commended for producing a quality current affairs programme, it is disappointing that this item did not reach their normal high standard.