Nine, Seven in breach reporting on taxi driver attack

Seven & Nine slapped after failing to protect the identity of a violent attack.

Nine and Seven have been found in breach of the Industry Code of Practice after failing to protect the identity of a victim of an attack on a taxi driver.

Media watchdog the Australian Communications and Media Authority found that Queensland Television (Nine Network) and Channel Seven Brisbane breached broadcast rules in news reports in March 2020.

Separate investigations into Seven News Gold Coast and Gold Coast Nine News reports found that the stations aired footage of the violent attack without adequately concealing the victim’s identity or obtaining their consent. They failed to adequately protect the victim’s privacy and did not exercise sufficient sensitivity when broadcasting images of a person who had survived a traumatic experience.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said, “Television broadcasters have a responsibility to handle personal information and distressing material with care.”

Under the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice 2015 broadcasters are required to take care when airing material that invades a person’s privacy or contains distressing material.

“That private material may already be in the public domain does not give broadcasters free license to re-publish it to a broader audience such as in a television news report. Doing so could be a further and more significant invasion of privacy.

“Broadcasting people’s private material must also be proportionate to the public interest involved. Reporting on the sentencing of the perpetrator may have been in the public interest, the inclusion of close-up footage of the victim during the attack was not.”

Following ACMA’s breach decision both broadcasters agreed to undertake further training on their privacy obligations and to advise the ACMA of the outcome.

One Response

  1. The usual ACMA type story… a station does something wrong / breaches their code of conduct, and their “punishment” is to undertake more training. There’s no incentive for stations to spend the time and effort checking things if the worst that’ll happen is they’ll get a slap on the wrist / wag of the finger.

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