The ABC’s 7.30 program has breached the ABC Code of Practice 2011 by failing to give MyBudget, a personal budgeting business, a fair opportunity to respond to allegations of mismanagement and neglect.
The program broadcast on 9 December 2013 was about the rise of commercial debt management firms providing services to people in financial difficulty.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority found a breach of standard 5.3 of the Code as MyBudget was not given the opportunity to provide a response to specific allegations by two former clients that its actions were improper or negligent.
The ACMA found these allegations were in the category captured by standard 5.3, which requires reasonable efforts to be made in the circumstances to provide a fair opportunity to respond.
The ACMA also found no breach of ABC Code obligations relating to accuracy, impartiality and informing participants of the general nature of their participation in its story.
The ABC has undertaken to place an Editor’s Note on the segment transcript, acknowledging the ACMA’s breach finding, as well as on the ABC Corrections and Clarifications webpage.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media release 11/2015 - 12 March
The ACMA’s role regarding the ABC Code is different from its role regarding the commercial broadcasting codes. The ABC Board is required by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 to develop a code of practice relating to its television and radio programming and to notify this code to the ACMA. This is a different process from that established in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 for the development of the commercial broadcasting codes, which entails registration by the ACMA if appropriate community safeguards are provided.
As with other broadcasters, complaints that the ABC has acted contrary to the ABC Code may be made to the ABC and, if the ABC fails to respond or the complainant considers the response is inadequate, a complaint may then be made to the ACMA. The ACMA must then consider whether the complaint is justified.