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Broadcasting Standards Authority Codes for television and radio

The main control for the promotion of alcohol within television and radio programmes is the Broadcasting Standards Authority Code.

Under the Broadcasting Act 1989, all broadcasted programmes are required to adhere to standards or guidelines. This includes all programmes which have been screened or played in New Zealand on television or radio. There are no controls on programmes broadcast from outside of New Zealand.

Programmes are different to advertisements. Complaints about advertisements are to be directed to the Advertising Standards Authority.


There are 3 Codes of Practice

There are three Codes of practice for programmes in New Zealand. They are:

  1. Free-to-Air Television Code, please click here,
  2. Pay Television Code, please click here, and 
  3. Radio Code, please click here.These are developed by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA), which is the group charged to oversee broadcasting standards.

Standard 7 of each Code relates to alcohol

Standard 7 in each of the Codes specifies the guidelines for the promotion of alcohol within any programme. Some of the guidelines in Standard 7 are:

  • Alcohol promotion should be socially responsible and must not encourage consumption by people who are under the legal age to purchase alcohol.
  • Alcohol promotion must not occur in programmes specifically directed at children.
  • Alcohol promotion must not dominate a broadcast.
    Programmes must avoid advocacy of excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Sponsorship must be confined to the brand, name or logo, and exclude sales messages.

Making a complaint

If any person feels that a programme has breached the broadcasting standards, they must first make a complaint to the TV or radio company. This must be done within 20 working days of the programme being screened.

If any person is unsatisfied with the result of the decision from the broadcasting company, then they can also lodge a formal complaint to the BSA. 

All decisions from the BSA are sent to the media, subscribers and uploaded on to the BSA website.

There are many types of penalties if the BSA finds that a breach has occurred. Click here to read more.

Click here to take action on the promotion of alcohol within TV and radio programmes screened in New Zealand.