A Current Affair breaches privacy & accuracy | ACMA

A Current Affair breaches privacy & accuracy

MR 21/2013 - 4 April 2013

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has breached TCN Channel 9’s A Current Affair on issues of accuracy, privacy and complaints-handling concerning a story about a former Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer. The investigation report #2800 is available.

The ACMA found that the program had insufficient evidence to support its claim during a 5 March, 2012 broadcast that police in Australia, the United States and France were investigating allegations of fraud against the former swimmer and his wife.

However, the ACMA found that other statements about alleged fraudulent dealings did not involve a breach of the ‘accuracy’ obligations in the Commercial Television Code of Practice (the code), either because they were not ‘factual material’ or because evidence provided by the licensee and complainant were inconclusive.

The ACMA also found that the licensee breached the privacy provisions of the code.

The third breach relates to complaints-handling. The code specifies that licensees are not required to respond to complaints where a matter raised has become the subject of legal proceedings. Here, the licensee did not provide a substantive response to the complainant on code issues because the complainant had served the licensee with a Concerns Notice under the Defamation Act. However, the ACMA found that the licensee was required to provide a substantive response as court proceedings had not actually been commenced. Given the technical nature of this breach, the ACMA will take no further action in relation to this breach.

The licensee has accepted the ACMA’s findings and will be acknowledging them on their webpage. It has conducted training on its complaints-handling obligations.

For more information please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

Last updated: 18 July 2016