Neighbourhood spat leads to breach by A Current Affair

Nine's use of a viral video, and naming one individual, has copped a breach by the media watchdog.

Mobile phone footage of a neighbourhood spat which went viral and became the basis of a story on A Current Affair has led to a breach of the Broadcasting Services Act by Nine.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority found the March 2022 story breached a participant’s privacy by including his name, part of his residential address and unobscured video footage of his face without his consent.

The dispute centred around a 19-year-old man living in a small community in regional NSW and an altercation with an older neighbour over the placement of a floodlight. A friend of the 19 year old filmed a scuffle when the neighbour entered the property, with the latter objecting to being filmed on the mobile phone.

ACA, in following up the stoush, referred to the neighbour by his full name while the video footage broadcast showed him in close-up.

Nine maintained that as the video had over 400,000 views on the web it did not invade privacy. ACA‘s own story subsequently has over 9 million YouTube views.

But ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said, “Broadcasters may only disclose personal information without consent if it is relevant and proportional to the public interest.

“In this case our investigation found it wasn’t in the public interest for Nine to disclose the individual’s name and address because it wasn’t necessary to enable the audience to understand the overall issue.

“Even if material is already available in the public sphere, as some of this footage was, a licensee has an obligation to consider how broadcasting the material may further impact people’s privacy.”

Nine will now train staff in the privacy requirements of the code. Again.

3 Responses

  1. Many of the “stories” that A Current Affair has are not in the public interest, but in the interests of advertisers. I don’t need to know about some neighbourhood dispute that doesn’t affect my life or the world that we live in. There are more important things to cover that neighbourhood disputes that tends to be covered by this sorry excuse of a current affairs program, like Ukraine or the dispute between China and Taiwan, which would have more of an impact on our lives than a neighbourhood dispute.

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