Complaint over use of 'gypsy day' on TVNZ upheld

But recently the Otago council ruled not to use the words Gypsy Day in its own documents or...
There has been previous controversy over the use of term Gypsy Day. Photo: NZ Herald
A complaint that Television New Zealand used a discriminatory term in a news story about the annual relocation of sharemilkers has been upheld.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority found TVNZ breached the discrimination and denigration standards by referring to the yearly movement of sharemilkers around the country "as gypsy day".

The complainant said the term "gypsy day" was "offensive to one of our smallest and least visible ethnic and cultural communities".

He said the use of the phrase "presents us as a nation that is willing to discriminate against minority ethnic and cultural communities".

He added the alternative term "moving day" could have been used.

TVNZ did not uphold this complaint, on the basis the term did not reach the threshold necessary to conclude it encouraged discrimination, the colloquial use of the term in the farming community, and that it did not intend to discriminate against a section of the community.

The BSA said the term was not used with any intention to discriminate nor was it directed at the Roma community, and it was commonly used colloquially to reference the movement of sharemilkers and their stock around the country.

However, the BSA said the term was recognised as a racial slur with growing recognition of its offensiveness, and that there was an alternate "moving day" term that could have been used.

The complaint was upheld but no order for costs to be paid was made.

Comments

I believe the broadcasting standards authority (BSA) got this wrong.

You report that the BSA accept that there was no offense intended. That's the first point, "intent", there was no intent they were simply using an expression that has been used for over a century.

Also, "the BSA said the term was recognised as a racial slur with growing recognition of its offensiveness". My questions are: disregarding the single, individual, solitary complainant, who recognises the term as a racial slur? I've certainly never heard this said before. And scondly: Where is the evidence of growing recognition of its offensiveness? Is iot the one complainant?

If the complaint of one person is enough to support this decision with the grounds given by the BSA then I suggest we are lost.

It's simply wrong. The word signifies 'Egyptian'..

The term is Romani. Or, as folksingers have it 'The Travellin' Paple'.

Your arguments are the typical arguments put forward by the racists in the majority group in a society. Offence is not measure by the intent of the offender, it s measured by the offence felt by the offended.
What always amazes me is how people who constantly use derogatory terms to describe others, get deeply offended when they are called racists.

It would appear that we live in a world where a single complaint can dictate to the majority.
It takes only one person to be offended to make change. The same applied for the naming of the mountain bike tracks. Yet a mountain bike club up north took the signs over with no complaints from their community.
If only the authorities were that efficient with complaints about the health system, council performance, drugs and gang problems.
The term 'gypsy day' was coined some years ago in reference to all the cars, utes, trucks and trailers loaded with all the farm workers possessions, and even their stock in some cases, then transported all around the country to start new contracts for the season. I don't believe in anyway was any offence intended. Rather a term used to describe the similarity of the 'caravans' of movement around the farms. I'm from a farming family, and for me, it will always be 'gypsy day', with no offence intended.

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