7 September 2010
Nine's AFL Footy Show breaches code for ridicule; agrees to pay $200,000 for any future breach
A Sam Newman segment on Nine’s The AFL Footy Show has been found likely to have provoked severe ridicule and breached the commercial television code. Nine has agreed to pay $200,000 to charity in the event of any future breach by Mr Newman of the relevant code provision.
The likely ridicule was against a Malaysian man on the basis of colour and race in a segment broadcast last year.
Presenter Sam Newman commented on the marriage of a Malaysian man to a much older woman. The ACMA found Mr Newman’s repeated reference to someone as a sub-human primate (such as a monkey) and the statement that he is ‘not long out of the forest’ was a serious ridicule.
A lack of reasonableness and good faith meant the exemption in the code for satire did not apply.
‘Nine’s offer of an enforceable undertaking, whereby it would pay $200,000 to an agreed charity for any future breach by Mr Newman of the code provision, confirms both the seriousness of the breach and the seriousness with which Nine is approaching future compliance,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
‘Ridiculing or racially abusing dark-skinned people by comparing them to monkeys has recently received much media attention in Australia, particularly in and around the sporting arena.’
‘We believe a sporting commentator such as Mr Newman would have been aware of these incidents and should therefore have been aware that using the word monkey in this manner would be likely to provoke severe ridicule,’ Mr Chapman said.
GTV Nine also agreed to a number of other provisions in the enforceable undertaking, including significant senior management overview of the materials to be used by Mr Newman and a broad-ranging reporting regime and training obligation.
The ACMA found Nine Network’s Adelaide affiliate, NWS, had also breached the code in broadcasting the same program.
GTV Nine has responded to the ACMA findings.
In March 2009, the ACMA found that GTV Nine had breached the same code provision during the ‘Sam’s Mailbag’ segment of the AFL Footy Show. On this previous occasion it was found that the broadcast material had been likely to have provoked severe ridicule on the grounds of gender.
Background material on broadcasting complaints can be found on the ACMA website.
The ACMA’s Regulatory guidelines - Enforceable undertaking (No. 1) and its Compliance and enforcement policy are also available on its website.
For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Donald Robertson, Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7980, 0418 861 766 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The ACMA is Australia’s regulator for broadcasting, the internet, radiocommunications and telecommunications. The ACMA’s mission is to make communications and media work in Australia’s public interest.