Channel Seven Adelaide breached the accuracy and fairness provisions of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice (the Code) during a report aired in March 2017 on Today Tonight. The report was about an online flower delivery business, Bloomex.
An Australian Communications and Media Authority investigation found Today Tonight misrepresented comments made by the then NSW Fair Trading Commissioner. Today Tonight incorrectly reported that the Commissioner had issued a public warning not to use the company, during an interview recorded for the segment. Instead, in pre-recorded comments not put to air, the Commissioner had only spoken about online flower sellers generally and noted complaints about Bloomex.
The ACMA’s investigation found the report failed to present factual material accurately, breaching clause 3.3.1 of the code. ‘The Code requires that licensees present factual material accurately in broadcasting news and current affairs programs. They must also ensure viewpoints included in the program are not misrepresented,’ said ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin.
‘This breach is an important reminder to broadcasters of their responsibilities to not distort statements made by third parties.’
Several other allegations of inaccuracy were found not to be in breach of the Code.
The ACMA and Seven Adelaide have agreed on actions to be taken by the licensee to avoid future breaches, including using the decision in future Code training for staff. Seven Adelaide also made appropriate corrections to the statements on the Today Tonight website.
More information about ACMA broadcasting investigations is available here.
For more information contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Media release 37/2017 - 6 November