WIN Television Qld Pty Ltd and Prime Television (Southern) Pty Ltd have been found in breach of impartiality rules for news reports about whether regional media is jeopardised by ‘outdated’ media laws.
Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigations have found both broadcasters in breach of the rules due to a ‘call to action’ to support the ‘Save Our Voices’ campaign advocating for law reform around regional media.
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that while the role of regional media is a newsworthy topic, on this occasion WIN and Prime failed to meet the standards of impartiality required of news programs.
“Australian audiences should be able to rely on news programs for fair and impartial information so they can understand complex issues,” Ms O’Loughlin said.
“The issue is not the topic reported on but the fact that a news broadcast encouraged viewers to take action and visit an online petition in which the licensee had a direct interest.”
“As a result, the report went beyond providing sufficient information for viewers to make up their own minds about the issues presented to advocating for a particular policy response. The commercial interests of a broadcaster should not shape the way in which news stories are presented.”
The ACMA assessed impartiality by considering whether the program met the impartial news obligations in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice 2015.
WIN and Prime have agreed to provide updated training to all news production, presenters and editorial staff about the impartiality Code rules and report to the ACMA following the training.