You will remember last year there was a complaint made to the ABC regarding possible miss use off file footage during a 7pm news story, this was the story that had vision of a dead wallaby supposably in a creek.
The long and short of the story was the footage was supplied by Doctors for Forests and the filming date changed from 2006 to 2004 then 2003 finally some time during 2000.
Posted on the ABC’s Quarterly Complaint Report web site is their findings of the matter.
7pm Television News, 25 April 2006
The ABC received two complaints from a single complainant about the source of footage used during a news story about tax cuts for timber plantations. The report included statements about the poisoning of native animals and the footage depicted a dead native animal. The ABC’s initial response to the complainant advised that the footage was supplied by the group Doctors for Forests and was filmed during 2004. The complainant was unhappy with this response and wrote again to the ABC, stating that the source of the footage was not attributed during the story and that the date of the footage could not be correct because it appeared to be the same footage used in the Four Corners program ‘Lords of the Forests’.
In a further response to the complainant the ABC acknowledged that the footage was filmed in 2003, not in 2004 as the complainant had initially been advised. The ABC also agreed that the footage should have been accompanied by a caption identifying that it was supplied by Doctors for Forests, because it was likely that it had been used as media release by a lobby group. The ABC apologised to the complainant and the News Editor put out a memo to all of
his staff warning of the dangers of using third party material.
Following receipt of this further response from the ABC, the complainant raised further questions about its accuracy. Additional information was sought from News & Current Affairs, and the ABC acknowledged that it had again provided an inaccurate response to the complainant. The ABC apologised for these regrettable and embarrassing errors in its advice to the complainant.
These complaints were upheld on the grounds of both inaccuracy and unsatisfactory complaint handling.
One would have though that the memo sent out by the ABC’s News Editor would have re-established the standards for the future but alas it looks like the standard has dropped again, this time the 7:30 Report with its segment about pulp mills and scallop fishing. I’ve forwarded a number of questions** to the ABC for their response.
** more in a future blog post