TEN News cleared over impartiality complaint
ACMA rejects viewer complaint a news item carried editorial comment.
Media watchdog ACMA has cleared TEN News over a complaint that a story on NAB staff cuts was introduced with editorial comment.
A viewer complained to the Australian Communications and Media Authority that the report in November introduced by Sandra Sully was out of place in a News report.
“[The presenter], in reading the news about the NAB staff reduction, asserted that the NAB announced that reduction then ‘celebrated’ by announcing the six billion dollar profit, or perhaps the other way round, but either way it was an astonishing case of personal or channel editorial attitude that does not sit well with any kind of claim of objectivity. If it was only a case of flippancy, I’m not sure that has any place in a TV news program either,” they complained.
TEN defended that “The brief comment by the news presenter was clearly commentary and distinguishable from factual material in the news report, in accordance with Clause 3.4.1(b) of the Code.”
ACMA found that Sandra Sully framed the report by stating that the NAB ‘celebrated’ its ‘breathtaking’ profit by ‘axing’ 6000 jobs.
“The presenter then explained that the ‘entire workforce’ was ‘upset’ because the bank hadn’t identified who was on the ‘hit list’, using language that implied all NAB employees were feeling a level of threat or uncertainty as a result of the job cuts announcement,” it said.
However, that was not the only perspective presented by TEN.
“As the report progressed, the reporter, using predominantly neutral language, offered an alternate perspective on the jobs cuts-that the decision was part of a considered, longer-term restructure tied to technological enhancements, that 2000 extra jobs would be created and that affected staff will be helped by the NAB to transition.
“Although the report was framed around the actions of a successful bank in cutting a large number of jobs, the framing reflected the NAB’s results announcement. Considered as a whole, the report was not partial and contained content which achieved fairness in spite of a negative style and choice of language.”
ACMA found TEN did not breach the Code of Practice.