A controversial New Zealand broadcaster has been slapped with a fine of 3,000 New Zealand 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 the show, used derogatory remarks against Ms. Dikshit by making fun of her name, during a discussion on the Commonwealth Games.

In its decision taken at a meeting here, the BSA labelled the exchange as a breach of standards of decency and fairness as well as being discriminatory.

The BSA said Mr. Henry's statements were offensive to both Ms. Dikshit and to all Indians.

“We consider that Mr. Henry's repeated ridicule of Ms. Dikshit's name amounted to a sustained and deliberate attack against the Chief Minister personally.”

“His subsequent comment 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,” the BSA decision said.

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

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