'Beast of Blenheim' nickname acceptable - BSA

Stewart Murray Wilson. Photo / File photo
Stewart Murray Wilson. Photo / File photo

Nightline and 3 News did not breach broadcasting standards when referring to convicted sex offender Stewart Murray Wilson as "the Beast of Blenheim", the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has found.

A complaint to the BSA alleged that Wilson was treated unfairly by 3 News and Nightline, which used the nickname in news items related to Wilson's release after he spent 18 years in prison for more than 20 sex offences against women and children over a 20-year period.

The complainant argued that the use of the nickname dehumanised and stigmatised him in an attempt to incite public hostility.

There was also concern about disregard for Wilson's human rights.

"He alleged TV3 was grooming the public against Mr Wilson in collaboration with other broadcasters who hold to the same practices and ideology of separatism, hatred and contemptuous superiority," the findings said.

Yet the BSA overturned the complaint, saying the label "Beast of Blenheim" had been used for many years.

The findings said the nickname was well-known and reflected the public's reaction to the nature of his crimes.

It was also only used once in each item, and Wilson's legal name was also used.

The complaint also alleged breaches of good taste and decency, privacy, controversial issues, accuracy, discrimination and denigration, responsible programming and children's interest - none of which were upheld.

- nzherald.co.nz

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