A Current Affair breached privacy rules in reports about Uber driver, rules ACMA

Nine breached a ride-share driver’s privacy during a February episode of A Current Affair (ACA), the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled.

ACA “stumbled” in upholding its privacy obligations by sharing personal information about the driver, including their professional history, background and date of birth, according to ACMA’s investigation into two episodes.

The 19 and 27 February episodes were investigated in response to complaints that they contained multiple inaccuracies and breached privacy rules.

The 19 February segment centred on a passenger of a ride-share service who had left their wallet in the car and alleged their bank card had been used by the driver.

The 27 February follow-up focused on the driver’s complaint to ACA about the first report, and included information about the driver’s background, identity and professional history. It also included the driver’s date of birth and details of their complaint about the first report.

While broadcasters can report on matters that are of public interest, ACMA’s chair Nerida O’Loughlin said “there were insufficient public interest grounds for the material to be broadcast” and Nine had breached the Television Code of Practice.

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

Nine did not comment on the ruling, but ACMA noted the broadcaster will reference this decision in future Commercial Television Code of Practice training materials.

A Current Affair is also facing legal action for allegedly defaming a former Paralympian in a September 2018 episode. Nine has filed a defence in the matter, which is set down for its next case management hearing on 27 March, 2020.


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