Media watchdog the Australian Communications and Media Authority has commenced a formal investigation into whether content broadcast by commercial, national and subscription broadcasters of Friday’s terrorist attack in Christchurch breached current rules.
The investigation will focus on any content of the perpetrator-filmed, live streamed footage of the shootings that was broadcast on Australian television.
Networks have been criticised for screening “live streaming” footage showing gunfire, in some instances inside a Christchurch mosque.
The ACMA is also concerned about content made available or linked to on broadcasters’ websites. While this is currently beyond its regulatory remit, the ACMA is in close contact with the Australian Press Council as it reviews its members’ coverage of the attack.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin will write to the CEOs of all broadcasters requesting urgent information on the nature, extent and timing of the broadcast of content relating to the shootings, in particular from the day of the attack.
The ACMA will also request urgent meetings with Free TV Australia and the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association to discuss whether current rules are providing adequate protections for Australian audiences.