ACMA rules that Nine breached privacy rules with A Current Affair story


A Nine spokesperson said: “We are concerned about the way the ACMA has elected to interpret the privacy provisions of the Code in this instance”

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has found TCN Channel Nine (Nine) breached privacy rules in a story on A Current Affair that included mobile phone footage of a dispute between neighbours.

An ACMA investigation found the story breached a participant’s privacy by including his name, part of his residential address and unobscured video footage of his face without his consent.

Under the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, broadcasters must not air personal information without consent unless it is in the public interest.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said broadcasters must respect the privacy of individuals included in news and current affairs reporting.

“Broadcasters may only disclose personal information without consent if it is relevant and proportional to the public interest,” O’Loughlin said.

“In this case our investigation found it wasn’t in the public interest for Nine to disclose the individual’s name and address because it wasn’t necessary to enable the audience to understand the overall issue.

“Even if material is already available in the public sphere, as some of this footage was, a licensee has an obligation to consider how broadcasting the material may further impact people’s privacy.”

In response to the findings a Nine spokesperson said: “While respecting the important role the ACMA plays we are concerned about the way the ACMA has elected to interpret the privacy provisions of the Code in this instance. This case involved a video which was public and had been seen by around 400,000 people prior to Nine reporting upon it. It showed a man who entered his neighbour’s property without consent and chose to remain on the property while he was filmed. The neighbour was interviewed by Nine about his experience, and the fact his video went viral.

“The ACMA have determined that despite this, the man’s identity and actions should be protected by privacy. Free to air television is the most heavily regulated media platform in the country and we take our obligations under the Code very seriously. We do not consider the ACMA’s interpretation to be reflective of the community position in this instance. Nevertheless, we have agreed to train relevant staff about the approach taken by the ACMA.”

As a result of the ACMA’s investigation the licensee will train staff in the privacy requirements of the code.

To Top