ACMA slaps Today Tonight. Again.

For the second time in four days the Australian Media and Communications Authority has found reason to criticise Today Tonight.

This time a story broadcast on Southern Cross Tasmania in 2006 about a father paying child support unnecessarily identified a 12yo child as not being the man’s biological son.

According to ACMA TNT9 aired a story which had “no identifiable public interest reason for the material to be broadcast.”

It also found that “the licensee failed to exercise special care before using material relating to a child’s personal and private affairs.”

ACMA claims the story invaded the privacy of the child’s mother.

The Seven licensee has undertaken to extensively discuss the breach with its staff and management and include the incident in future training.

ACMA hasn’t been happy with Seven lately. On Friday it ruled Today Tonight “misleading and deceptive” and on Thursday it found Home and Away guilty of being too racy for its G-rated timeslot.

Source: ACMA

7 Comments:

  1. Please note it was the promo that breached ACMA, not the story. The story was spot on. Yes, a Brisbane cab driver was asked if he knew how to get to Circular Quay and he didn’t. I’m sorry but if you are a Brisbane cabbie and you don’t know that Circular Quay is in Sydney then you shouldn’t be driving a cab. Might point out they were asked Brisbane landmarks and didn’t know where they were either. Melbourne cab drivers have to pass a landmark test before they get a job.

  2. there have been times when network stations (eg. GTV9 Melbourne or QTQ9 Brisbane) have got in trouble for a program coming from another station within the same network (eg. TCN9). But looking through the ACMA website this seems to be a rare if not first occasion that an independently-owned affiliate or relay station (in this case TNT9) has been subject to a ruling for a program they get fed from a capital city network (7). But as David points out, the viewer has to make the complaint against the channel they saw the program on, so 7 effectively gets let off the hook. Doesn’t seem fair in light of the current networked set-up where regional stations have little control over what they put to air as it’s mostly fed from a network. I think ACMA needs to change how this complaints process works so that the stations that make the shows are accountable, not just the one that puts it to air.

  3. As the ACMA approach is to first let the complainant sort the matter with the broadcaster (and only approach ACMA if the issue is unresolved) I’d say the original complaint was directed at TNT9.

  4. seems to be a loophole in the rules where a regional affiliate (TNT9/SCT) cops the blame for a program that even though they’ve paid for and aired, is not one that they have any editorial control over. It’s not like they could have reviewed the show before it went to air and now they wear the penalty for Seven’s lapse in privacy standards? The same story i assume went out on Seven in the other states (TT is not produced in TAS as far as I know) but Seven who made the show doesn’t cop anything. Perhaps ACMA needs to review their complaints processes??

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