ACMA rules attack footage aired by Seven & Nine breached privacy rules

Footage aired in separate reports into a violent attack on a taxi driver by Nine’s Queensland Television and Channel Seven Brisbane breached privacy and distress rules, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found.

After conducting separate investigations into the two stations, the ACMA ruled that they failed to protect the victim’s privacy. The ruling also criticised the stations for not exercising sensitivity when broadcasting images of the person who was attacked.

The Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice 2015 requires broadcasters to take adequate care when airing material of a distressing nature that invades a person’s privacy.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said broadcasters have a responsibility, even if private material is already in the public domain.

“Television broadcasters have a responsibility to handle personal information and distressing material with care.

“That private material may already be in the public domain does not give broadcasters free license to re-publish it to a broader audience such as in a television news report. Doing so could be a further and more significant invasion of privacy.”

“Broadcasting people’s private material must also be proportionate to the public interest involved. Reporting on the sentencing of the perpetrator may have been in the public interest, the inclusion of close-up footage of the victim during the attack was not.”

Nine chose not to comment when approached by Mumbrella, while Seven is yet to respond to a request for comment.

In ACMA’s ruling, it revealed both broadcasters have committed to further training on their privacy obligations, and each will advise the ACMA of the outcome of said training.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.