Henry's "India race slur" "encouraged discrimination": Television New Zealand

Auckland, Oct 19(ANI): Television New Zealand (TVNZ)'s complaints committee has upheld complaints over "offensive" comments made by its former Breakfast host Paul Henry by acknowledging that his remarks "encourage discrimination".

TVNZ had received at least 1500 complaints after Henry questioned whether or not Governor General Sir Anand Satyanand was a New Zealander because he did not look or sound like one.

He was also criticized and had to ultimately resign over his mocking of Delhi Chief Minister Shelia Dikshit.

"The complaints committee agrees that Paul Henry's comments would offend and distress a significant number of viewers, and accordingly, upholds that Standard 1 was breached," the New Zealand Herald quoted a TVNZ statement, as saying.

"The committee also notes that Sir Anand Satyanand felt compelled to issue a statement in regard to his nationality because of the broadcast ... the committee finds that the statements in Breakfast were unfair and this was recognized in Henry's apology."

"The statements and the inference behind them encouraged discrimination against New Zealanders who are not of a particular ethnicity [even though the comments relating to Sir Anand Satyanand were incorrect]," it added.

It lists a series of actions taken in the wake of the comments about Sir Anand, which were broadcast on October 4.

The actions resulted in TVNZ Chairman Sir John Anderson and Chief Executive Rick Ellis tendering a written apology to Sir Anand at Government House in Auckland on October 11.

The response also addresses comments made by TVNZ spokeswoman Andi Brotherston in the hours after Henry's comments, who claimed that Henry was prepared to say the things "we quietly think but are scared to say out loud".

TVNZ's complaints committee said that it could not consider Brotherston's comment because it did not fall within its legal scope. (ANI)

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