TVNZ fined over Paul Henry`s `Dikshit` remarks

The BSA said Henry`s statements were offensive to both Dikshit and to all Indian people.

Updated: Jun 14, 2011, 12:13 PM IST

Melbourne: A controversial New Zealand
Broadcaster has been slapped with a fine of 2444 dollars for
airing a racist joke on Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit
last October during a TV show.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) also
criticised former Breakfast host Paul Henry who while hosting
a TV show used derogatory remarks against the Delhi Chief
Minister in the course of a discussion on the Commonwealth
Games, poking fun at her name.

In its decision taken at a meeting here, the BSA
labeled the exchange, a breach of standards of decency and
fairness as well as being discriminatory. It ordered TVNZ to
pay 2444 New Zealand dollar fine.

The BSA said Henry`s statements were offensive to both
Dikshit and to all Indian people.

"We consider that Henry`s repeated ridicule of
Dikshit`s name amounted to a sustained and deliberate attack
against the Chief Minister personally.

"His subsequent comment, which associated the words
`dick shit` with people of Indian descent was not only
derogatory but entirely dissonant with common decency and a
clear breach of the discrimination and denigration standard,"
BSA decision said.

It was also noted that Henry`s manner, which included
sneering and uncontrollable laughter during the segment,
worsened his offence.

The state-owned network had earlier issued an
apology, admitting the comments were offensive and
discriminatory, but unhappy complainants referred the matter
to the BSA.

In a sternly worded rebuke, the BSA found that the
comments were "not only derogatory but entirely dissonant with
common decency and a clear breach of the discrimination and
denigration standard".

It said the words amounted to a "sustained and
deliberate attack against the Chief Minister personally".

Media reports quoted Henry as saying that he was
unfazed with the BSA decision and said he had "a lot more to
worry about than these insignificant rulings".

"Will it never end? It is a completely ridiculous
ruling made by completely ridiculous people for completely
ridiculous reasons...I have been able to move on," he said.

PTI