Case Number: 2965

Council Meeting: OCTOBER 2020

Verdict: No Grounds to Proceed

Publication: Radio NZ

Ruling Categories: Discrimination


Kathryn Tsui noted that she often preferred to read RNZ news online for its coverage. But for the week July 31 to August 6 she had noticed an over representation of Asians in public spaces in images relating to RNZ Covid-19 articles. She gave four examples.

She noted that this was just a couple of weeks after the Human Rights Commission had launched its “Racism is no joke” campaign.

RNZ, in response, undertook a review of Covid-19 stories posted on its website and said that it took a contrary view. Of eight Covid-19 related stories posted on that morning none had included portrait shots of Asian faces. RNZ uses the most editorially appropriate photograph for the context of each story it publishes.

The Media Council examined the examples given by Ms Tsui. While It was true that in the two middle clips there were more persons of Asian appearance shown than non-Asian there was nothing to indicate that this was discriminatory or gratuitous, given that pictures ofpersons of that ancestry can be expected in photos of Australian or NZ big city scenes and airports.

The Council also noted that there were many photos of people in Covid-19 articles from the same period that do not show such persons.

Finding: No Grounds to Proceed