ACMA Breach Decisions on Sunrise Stand

The Australian Communications and Media Authority welcomes a decision by Channel Seven to discontinue its court proceedings against the ACMA’s finding that a Sunrise ‘Hot Topics’ segment, aired on the 13th of March 2018, breached the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice.

‘The decision to withdraw the application for judicial review is an important acceptance of the ACMA’s findings,’ said ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin.

In August 2018, the ACMA found that the introduction to the segment claiming Indigenous children could ‘only be placed with relatives or other Indigenous families’ was inaccurate and in breach of the Code.

The ACMA investigation also found that the segment provoked serious contempt on the basis of race in breach of the Code as it contained strong negative generalisations about Indigenous people as a group.

On the 4th of April 2019, Channel Seven withdrew an application to have the Federal Court review the ACMA’s finding that the segment provoked serious contempt on the basis of race in breach of the Code.

Channel Seven has agreed to provide to the ACMA a court enforceable undertaking, in relation to sensitive and complex matters of this kind, to:

Commission an independent audit of the production processes for the current affairs content of Sunrise
Ensure editorial staff are provided with training in relation to identifying and dealing with such matters.

“Channel Seven’s response to the ACMA takes account of the high threshold for this breach finding,” Ms O’Loughlin said. “Remedial action must allow for the discussion of matters in the public interest, including extremely sensitive topics. However, these discussions must be done with due care, with editorial framing to ensure compliance with the Code.”



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