A Current Affair in hot water after ACMA picks holes in Neil Brooks story

04 April, 2013 by Emily Blatchford

Channel Nine’s A Current Affair is under fire from the Australian Communications and Media Authority after the organisation found the program to have breached provisions on factual accuracy, privacy and complaints handling.

The story in question, presented by reporter Amanda Paterson in March last year and running over 19 minutes, concerned former Olympic gold medallist Neil Brooks and his wife.

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ACMA’s 32-page investigation report, released today, found that “the program had insufficient evidence to support its claim during a 5 March, 2012 broadcast that police in Australia, the United States and France were investigating allegations of fraud against the former swimmer and his wife.” 

The ACMA also found the program had breached the privacy of Brooks’ wife by showing her driver’s licence and French address on camera and that the program had failed to adequately respond to the complaints of Brooks after the segment went to air. 

However there were also a number of alleged breaches ACMA has dismissed, namely because they were not considered to be “factual material,” had inconclusive evidence or that an “ordinary reasonable viewer” would not interpret statements as fact. 

For instance, statements from Paterson such as “The gold medal Olympian turned gold medal conman,” and “[The Brooks] are currently holed up in a villa somewhere hatching their next plan” were deemed by ACMA as “emotive, hyperbolic and/or opinion” and subsequently dismissed as breaches. 

Channel Nine has accepted the organisation’s findings and will be acknowledging the incidents on their website. 

Contact Emily Blatchford at eblatchford@if.com.au or on Twitter at @EmilyBlatchford

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Walter Hammer

    there will always be people trying to make a name for them selfs, especially when young, reporters have media on there side ,and think they can get away with it, not so ,think before you open your mouth, would be good. Hope that reporter gets a wrap over the knuckels.

  • Albert Robinson

    ACA is just the Oz version of trashy USA style TV content , it is despicable that they rely on the huge costs associated with suing for defamation to save their bacon every time.
    The ACMA simply said ‘Tut Tut A Current Affair, now go to your room ‘ .. are you kidding me ? The program should be hit with a hefty compensation payment to Neil Brooks and anyone else who has become a victim of their disgusting journalistic style.
    I too have been a victim of ACA and the ACMA are currently investigating … some 5 months now, cant wait to see what their report findings will be.
    Either way the full story is being prepared as we speak.
    I will make sure the public get to know what that program and Tracey Grimhead is all about.
    The price I have paid since the program went to air is disgusting, the damage simple CANNOT be undone by an entry on their website saying sorry.
    Tracey Grimhead and all her staff should be made to tour capital cities and walk the pavement with placards announcing they got it wrong and are pathetic at their profession.