An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation has found
Seven News in Queensland has breached the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice in a story about local council misconduct.
A news report from May 2019 stated that a mayor “was cleared of allegations made against him” which the ACMA found to be inaccurate.
The statement referred to the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission’s decision not to investigate a matter referred to it by the Local Government Conduct Review Panel. However the regulator ruled a decision not to investigate is not the same as clearing a person of allegations.
“The term ‘cleared’ implies there had been a finding. This was not the case,” ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.
“Seven News in Queensland has a good record of compliance with industry rules but on this occasion, they have dropped the ball.
“It’s important for Australians to be able to have trust in the news programs they see on TV, and inaccuracies such as this erode that trust.”
ACMA’s report did not name the council nor mayor at the centre of the story.
As a result of the findings Seven will circulate a copy of the investigation to Queensland editorial staff and include the decision in training sessions.