Studio 10 cleared by watchdog over broadcasting Kerri-Anne Kennerley’s inflammatory Indigenous comments

The broadcast industry’s watchdog – the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) – has revealed the results of its investigation into Ten’s morning show Studio 10 following complaints against Kerri-Anne Kennerley.

During a debate on the panel program about moving the date of Australia Day away from 26 January, Kennerley said “it was a couple of hundred years ago. Get over it. Let’s just move on” in relation to Indigenous Australians’ concerns around the white invasion of Australia.

She also said those protesting for a date change had done “zippo” to help Indigenous people in the “outback” where “children, babies, five-year-olds are being raped, their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped, they get no education”.

The ACMA received just two complaints against the segment.

“She used false data, incorrect and racist statements in an attempt to discredit the protest by showing serious contempt and severe ridicule to the Indigenous Australians,” one of the complaints said.

ACMA then undertook an investigation into whether the broadcast breached section 2.6.2 of the Commercial Television Code of Practice, which states a broadcaster must not screen content likely “to provoke or perpetuate in, or by a reasonable person, intense dislike, serious contempt or severe ridicule against a person or group of people because of age, colour, gender, national or ethnic origin, disability, race, religion or sexual preference”.

KAK: ‘I’m not a racist’

WIN – the regional affiliate of Ten which broadcast the segment – submitted to the ACMA that a reasonable person would not have watched the segment and felt “that they were being urged, stimulated or encouraged by the segment to share or maintain feelings of intense dislike, serious contempt or severe ridicule against Indigenous people on the grounds of race”.

“Ms Kennerley did not suggest that all indigenous communities experienced such abuse or that all indigenous men were guilty of such abuse. Her point was that the top priority should be addressing family violence and abuse rather than the merits of the date of Australia Day,” WIN contended in its defence.

“Furthermore Ms Kennerley’s comments were forcefully challenged by guest panellist Yumi Stynes who stated, ‘Every time you open your mouth you’re sounding racist’. It was clear from the segment in its entirety that the hosts were expressing their differing views and the segment was strongly contested.

“Given the robust exchange and contrary views, a reasonable person would not likely consider that they were being urged by the program to share or maintain feelings of intense dislike, serious contempt or severe ridicule on the basis of race.”

The ACMA agreed with WIN, and found broadcasting Kennerley’s comments did not breach the Code.

“As the ACMA has previously noted, broadcasting views that may be offensive or controversial does not, in and of itself, constitute a breach of the relevant Code provisions,” it said in its 12-page findings.

It noted that Kennerley’s comments were problematic – “the emphatic and sweeping suggestion by Ms Kennerley of endemic sexual abuse in Indigenous communities could be capable of provoking strong negative feelings in a reasonable person” – but said Stynes’ strong rebukes helped to balance the discussion.

“The ACMA is of the view that, when considered as a whole, the segment would have conveyed to the ordinary reasonable viewer that sexual violence and abuse in remote Indigenous communities was an issue over which people had differing points of view. The segment was not, therefore, likely in all the circumstances, to provoke or perpetuate in the ordinary reasonable viewer, intense dislike or serious contempt against Indigenous people because of race.”


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