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Today Tonight, What A Waste Of A Progam


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surprise, surprise...

for the lazy people who don't want to click a link


By Rhys Haynes

December 15, 2006 06:05pm

Article from: AAPFont size: + -

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SEVEN Network's Today Tonight program has been given a slap on the wrist by the media authority after knowingly reporting incorrect facts about a Telstra staff conference on Lindeman Island.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found that Today Tonight breached the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice 2004 three times in the space of a month over two separate Telstra stories.

ACMA said Today Tonight breached clause 4.3.1 by failing to "represent viewpoints fairly'' when it broadcast a story about Telstra's billing systems on September 13, 2005.

Telstra said it had attempted to contact the program before the show aired, but it was not given an opportunity to respond until just hours before the broadcast.

"It also failed to provide sufficient details of the story to permit a meaningful response,'' Telstra said.

ACMA also found that Today Tonight breached the same clause in a program on October 12, 2005, when it aired a follow-up story to a September 26 broadcast of a Telstra event on Lindeman Island for 200 senior staff and some of their partners.

"The (original) story broadcast incorrect facts about the size and cost of the event,'' Telstra said.

"Two weeks later, on October 12, 2005, the program repeated claims about the size and cost of the event, this time knowing them to be incorrect.''

ACMA found that Today Tonight breached the clause twice on October 12 by failing to present factual material accurately and by not promptly remedying that failure.

The clause includes that the television broadcaster presents factual material accurately, represents viewpoints fairly and makes reasonable efforts to correct significant errors of fact.

The Seven Network told ACMA it would use the breach as an example in staff training, and report on this investigation to the company's board.

Seven today said it would be "taking the ACMA report seriously'' and acknowledged its duty to be fair and accurate "as much as humanly possible''.

"Today Tonight got a lot more right in the story than Telstra claims today,'' spokesman Simon Francis said.

''... We are happy to correct any errors of fact.''

ACMA today said it would take no further action.

The authority added that it was "concerned'' about the number of recent complaints to it relating to potential breaches of the code by news and current affairs programs.

"The authority will be closely monitoring this trend, including whether it raises issues for consideration in the forthcoming review of the code, expected to commence by mid-2007,'' it said

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