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A Current Affair breaches privacy rules

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found Channel Nine breached a person’s privacy during an A Current Affair (ACA) episode broadcast in February.

The ACMA investigated two ACA broadcasts on 19 and 27 February, following a complaint that they contained several inaccuracies and breached privacy obligations.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said broadcasters can explore and discuss matters of public interest, however they need to be aware of their obligations under the Television Code of Practice.

“A Current Affair has stumbled on this occasion, especially in regard to respecting a person’s right to privacy,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

The first ACA report was a segment about a passenger who had left their wallet in a ride-sharing service car and alleged that a bank card from that wallet had been used by the driver of the car.

The second ACA report was on the driver’s subsequent complaint to ACA about the first report, and included information about the driver’s background, identity and professional history.

ACMA found that Nine breached the driver’s privacy in disclosing their date of birth and details of their complaint about the program in the second episode.

“In this instance, the ACMA investigation found there were insufficient public interest grounds for the material to be broadcast,” said Ms O’Loughlin.

Channel Nine will include reference to this decision in future Commercial Television Code of Practice training materials and has taken steps to edit the second report where it appears on Nine’s online platforms.

MR 50/2019

For more information, please contact ACMA Media on 0438 375 776 or media@acma.gov.au.

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