Channel Seven Melbourne Pty Ltd breached the Commercial Television Code of Practice in Seven News and Sunday Night episodes broadcast on 5 July and 5 August 2018.
An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation has found broadcasts containing mobile phone footage of alleged schoolyard bullying invaded the privacy of several children.
‘Public interest issues, including school bullying, can, and indeed should, be explored on news and current affairs programs. In this case it was inappropriate to disclose children’s personal information,’ said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin.
The licensee exercised some care by not naming the children and attempting to blur their faces, however the footage was highly sensitive as it identified children engaged in anti-social and violent behaviour.
‘Broadcasters must exercise special care when dealing with children. It is not good enough for broadcasters to assume that footage is in the public domain and can be broadcast just because it is on social media,’ said Ms O’Loughlin.
The ACMA has requested Seven remove copies of the mobile phone footage from its website and social media pages. Seven will also bring the breach to the attention of its staff and include it in future code training.
The ACMA considers these will be appropriate responses by the licensee to this breach under the co-regulatory framework for commercial television broadcasting.
For more information, please contact ACMA Media on 0438 375 776 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media release 11/2019 - 29 March 2019