The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found Nine News Queensland breached broadcasting rules while promoting a news story about firearms in May last year.
The news story related to a decision by Queensland Police to reclassify a new type of semi-automatic weapon, the Wedgetail WT 15 Pistol variant.
Breaches occurred during a promotion which used footage of different models of fully-automatic firearms being fired along with the voice over statement ‘it shoots like a machine gun’, leading viewers to incorrectly think the Wedgetail WT 15 Pistol variant is fully-automatic.
Breaches also occurred during a mid-program “teaser” which included similar voiceover statements.
The ACMA investigation found Nine News Queensland breached the accuracy and impartiality rules contained in the Commercial Television Code of Practice 2015.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said while the news story itself was accurate and impartial the promotion was not.
“Although this is the first time we have seen a breach of the current code for a program promotion, broadcasters should be aware the obligations of accuracy and impartiality apply to both the news story and to its promotional content,” she said.
“The concise edited nature of promos means that broadcasters need to be even more diligent in ensuring compliance with the Code.”
“Broadcasters know the rules and we are disappointed that Channel Nine have let this slip through the cracks.”
Channel Nine will raise the investigation findings with staff, with an emphasis on Code provisions and the ACMA’s position on the operation of those provisions.
“The ACMA has accepted that this is commensurate and appropriate action to avoid future non-compliance,” Ms O’Loughlin said.