Sunrise discovers by ACMA that broadcast accuracy rules were violated in the story of a motorcycle accident in 2020
Sunrise, Channel 7’s famous morning breakfast show, has been found to have broken broadcasting accuracy rules in a motorcycle accident story that aired in September 2020.
The breach came to light following findings of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the national regulatory agency for media and communications.
The ACMA investigation found that the story, in which a presenter claimed that a motorcyclist “deliberately ran off a sidewalk and ran into a 13-year-old girl” was false.
Caught: The morning breakfast show ‘Sunrise’ was found to have violated broadcasting accuracy rules by the ACMA in a story of a 2020 motorcycle accident
The original complaint stated that the team read the story as if the rider “deliberately” drove up to the girl.
The complainant then went on to say: ‘I very much wonder how they (Sunrise) know the intent. I see no way for the network to know the intent if the boy hasn’t even been arrested or tried.’
Channel Seven originally disputed the claim, believing it amounted to a misinterpretation.
Suspect: A complainant alleged that the team read the story as if the motorcyclist ‘deliberately’ drove up to the girl
They said in their response that an “ordinary reasonable viewer” would infer from their report that the rider “deliberately drove onto the sidewalk, then deliberately drove off the sidewalk and onto the road, hitting the victim.”
The ACMA refuted Seven’s response, citing the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, which requires broadcasters to accurately present factual material in news and current affairs programs.
In the code, ACMA says the report clearly violated 3.3 Accuracy and Fairness.
In defense: Seven claims that an ‘ordinary reasonable viewer’ would infer from their report that the rider ‘deliberately drove onto the sidewalk, then drove away knowingly’
ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said these rules are in place so Australians can have confidence in what is reported in the news.
“It is disappointing that Seven has reported the collision as intentional without sufficient supporting evidence,” she said.
Following the findings, Seven has now agreed to provide the report to Sunrise staff and that they would be reminded of their obligations under the Code regarding news accuracy.
Verdict: Following the findings, Sunrise employees will be reminded of their obligations under the Code regarding news accuracy