Saying "for Christ's sake" on national TV has been given the go ahead as long as it is from "an authentic voice", the Broadcasting Standards Authority found.

A complaint about the phrase was not upheld by the BSA under the clauses for Good Taste and Decency and Children's Interests.

A segment on 1News reported on the outbreak of a cattle disease on a South Canterbury farm.

The item featured an interview with a farmer who said "for Christ's sake" when expressing his frustration and strong support of the affected farm owner.


"As far as the [farm owners] go, they're not dickheads. These are very, very good farmers. They have a lot of farms and a lot of cows and for Christ's sake don't let these people in here [at the meeting] try and get up good farmers," the farmer told 1News.

Ray Lough complained that the interviewee's use of the expression "for Christ's sake" was offensive and unacceptable to broadcast during an item when children might be viewing. He said a significant proportion of people found religious words used in vain offensive.

But TVNZ said 1News was aimed at adults and parents should exercise discretion when watching news with their children. The word "Christ" was acceptable in G and PGR programming.

"In this item, the word was used as a mild exclamation, which was not intended to offend," TVNZ stated.

The BSA found that the alleged harm did not outweigh the right to freedom of expression, both of the farmer to express and of TVNZ to broadcast the item, including the farmer's views.

"The authority found there was public interest and high value in hearing an authentic voice from a New Zealand farmer as part of the news report," it said.

"The authority has consistently found that variations of 'Christ' and 'Jesus Christ' are commonly used as exclamations. The content of the interview did not go beyond audience expectations of the news, therefore it was not necessary to broadcast an audience advisory."