SKY News corrected editorials by Alan Jones following a complaint to media watchdog the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
An editorial broadcast last August drew a complaint alleging ‘misinformation’ on COVID-19:
1. Children do not spread COVID.
2. Masks are useless.
3. Shutdowns don’t work.
4. COVID is a hoax.
The first of the three allegations listed above, involved the communication by Jones of information drawn from published research, including two from peer-reviewed scientific journals.
ACMA dismissed claims on both points 1 and 4 but found corrections were necessary on points 2 & 3.
Whilst quoting an article on masks, Jones neglected to note the authors of an article stated, “We strongly support the calls of public health agencies for all people to wear masks when circumstances compel them to be within 6 ft of others for sustained periods”.
On the question of lockdowns, when quoting from another article, he neglected to note an opinion that full lockdowns and early border closures may lessen the peak of transmission, and thus prevent health system overcapacity, which would facilitate increased recovery rates.
If a Licensee makes a correction within 30 days of a complaint being received then the Licensee will not be in breach of clause. It can issue the correction in one or more of the following ways:
a) during a later episode of the relevant Program;
b) on a Licensee’s news website;
c) on the official website of the relevant Program; or
d) any other way that is appropriate in the circumstances.
ACMA found that corrections posted to SKY News website within 30 days meant there has been no breach of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice.