A report on “Bogus Bouquets” in March on Today Tonight has found Seven Adelaide in breach of the Code of Practice over accuracy and fairness.
An Australian Communications and Media Authority investigation has ruled a story about an online flower delivery business, Bloomex misrepresented comments made by the then NSW Fair Trading Commissioner.
The story, which said the company was under investigation for questionable practices, included interviews with three customers, a former employee of Bloomex Canada and Rod Stowe who was then NSW Fair Trading Commissioner.
Today Tonight incorrectly reported that the Commissioner had issued a public warning not to use the company, during a recorded interview. But ACMA found, in pre-recorded comments not put to air, the Commissioner had only spoken about online flower sellers generally and noted complaints about Bloomex.
“The Code requires that licensees present factual material accurately in broadcasting news and current affairs programs. They must also ensure viewpoints included in the program are not misrepresented,” said ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin.
“This breach is an important reminder to broadcasters of their responsibilities to not distort statements made by third parties.”
There was also a complaint the story did not clarify some customers had been refunded for flowers which did not arrive as ordered.
Today Tonight website issued a “clarification” on that point:
Clarification: Regarding this Today Tonight report from March 7, 2017, about Bloomex Australia, we wish to clarify that Therese Matthews and Karan Sood did receive refunds after they didn’t receive their flowers as ordered.
Seven was cleared on other allegations of inaccuracy in the story.
The ACMA and Seven Adelaide have agreed on actions to avoid future breaches, including for staff training.