Nine News breached privacy rules by disclosing police addresses: ACMA

Channel Nine News has been found to have breached broadcasting privacy rules by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in multiple broadcasts dating back to October, 2019.

The three news reports in question disclosed the residential address of two police officers as part of a segment on a vehicle crashing into a house.

The reports disclosed that the residents were police officers, while identifying their house number and street name. One report also included the name of the suburb.

Under the Television Industry Code of Practice, broadcasters are not permitted to broadcast material that invades a person’s privacy unless there is a public interest reason or consent has been given from an individual to do so.

Upon investigation, the ACMA found Channel Nine breached privacy rules, and found significant safety reasons for not disclosing the residential addresses of serving police officers.

“Privacy breaches of this nature can cause a lot of distress to those impacted,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.

“The combination of the three reports intruded on the privacy of these officers when there was no public interest in doing so.”

Nine has removed all related material from their online platforms and apologised to the persons involved.

Nine has additionally undertaken to reiterate relevant Code obligations and the breach finding with relevant news and current affairs staff to ensure future compliance.

O’Loughlin said “broadcasters know the rules and have a responsibility to follow the Code.

“This incident is a reminder that broadcasters must make careful assessments about information they disclose in reporting.”


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