ACMA finds 7NEWS Spotlight promo breached accuracy requirements


The investigation found the promotions inaccurately portrayed a participant as a representative of the tobacco industry. 

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found promotions for a 7NEWS Spotlight program about vaping broadcast by Seven breached the accuracy rules in the Commercial TV Code of Practice.

The investigation found the program promotions inaccurately portrayed a participant as a representative of the tobacco industry. 

The ACMA found this to be inaccurate as there was not sufficient evidence to support the assertion that the participant, a doctor specialising in smoking cessation, is a representative of the tobacco industry.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said promotions for news and current affairs programs are subject to the same rules in the code of practice as the programs themselves.

“The brevity of program promotions do not exempt them from the broadcast rules,” she said.

“Special care must be taken around the accurate portrayal of program participants, including in broadcasts of a shorter format.”

Following the ACMA’s investigation and decision, Seven has agreed to delete the promotions from its website and social media channels, and not rebroadcast them.

Seven has also reminded its promotions team of its obligations around accuracy under the code of practice.

In May, the network announced Gemma Williams as the new executive producer for Spotlight, replacing Mark Llewellyn. Llewellyn left the program amidst its involvement in Bruce Lehrmann’s defamation case against 10 and Lisa Wilkinson.

Williams was previously Sydney bureau chief for Nine’s A Current Affair. She has also been a producer for 2GB’s Ben Fordham, and assistant chief of staff at Nine News Sydney.

Newly-minted editor-in-chief Anthony De Ceglie said Williams was “a next-generation talent and part of a strategy to recruit young leaders to Seven, setting up the news and current affairs team for the future.”

Williams said news and current affairs is her passion.

“It’s a great privilege to join such an experienced team who will continue to bring viewers unmissable major investigations and breaking news events from across Australia and around the globe,” she said.

See also: Seven promotes Chris Salter to Melbourne director of news, hires new Spotlight EP

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