Nine News’ promotion of firearm story breached broadcast rules, says ACMA

Promotion of a Nine News story about firearms breached the Commercial Television Code of Practice 2015, according to an investigation by the industry watchdog.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ruled that the story from May 2019 about the reclassification of semi-automatic weapons was promoted in a way which lead viewers to incorrectly assume information.

The news story about a decision by Queensland Police to reclassify the Wedgetail WT 15 Pistol was promoted by the network using footage of fully-automatic firearms being fired, leading viewers to incorrectly believe the gun is a fully-automatic weapon, ACMA said.

The voiceover during the promotion said “It shoots like a machine gun”.

A mid-program teaser also featured the offending footage and voiceover.

ACMA has ruled Nine News Queensland breached the accuracy and impartiality rules of the Code of Practice in the broadcast, with chair Nerida O’Loughlin saying the story was accurate, but the promotion was not.

“Although this is the first time we have seen a breach of the current code for a program promotion, broadcasters should be aware the obligations of accuracy and impartiality apply to both the news story and to its promotional content,” she said.

“The concise edited nature of promos means that broadcasters need to be even more diligent in ensuring compliance with the Code.

“Broadcasters know the rules and we are disappointed that Channel Nine have let this slip through the cracks.”

Nine will raise the investigation findings with staff, with an emphasis on Code provisions and the ACMA’s position on the operation of those provisions.

“The ACMA has accepted that this is commensurate and appropriate action to avoid future non-compliance,” O’Loughlin said.


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.