Wednesday, June 6th, 2012
The Australian Christian Lobby has challenged the ethics of Seven’s Sunrise Programme facilitating and promoting the same-sex marriage activist campaign ”I Do” in conjunction with GetUp! and magazine Marie Claire in a formal complaint to the station and the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
ACL believes the action of 7’s Sunrise is in direct contravention of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice which requires among other things, that news and current affairs programmes are presented accurately and fairly (Para 4.1.1) and that news is presented impartially (Para 4.1.4).
The official complaint says; “In our view this event, the partnering with activist organisation GetUp! and the associated advertising on its website, compromise Sunrise’s role as a current affairs programme and move it to the realm of overt activism.”
“This is a terrible betrayal of the trust explicit in Sunrise’s role as a current affairs and news programme,” said ACL Managing Director Mr Wallace. “That it has aligned itself with GetUp! on an issue so divisive in the community, is simply unacceptable.”
“As a current affairs and news programme Sunrise is an essential tool for politicians in communicating with the public, and by becoming activists on this issue it carries an implicit message that access and treatment on the programme will be best served by supporting this campaign,” said Mr Wallace.
“This is exactly why overt activism for news and current affairs programmes clearly conflicts with media ethics in the independence and impartiality they are supposed to reflect,” he said.
Mr Wallace said the recent European Court of Human Rights judgement said the European Convention on Human Rights does not require member states’ governments to grant same-sex couples access to marriage.
“The defence of the Sunrise producer Michael Pell that this is a human rights issue does not hold when the European Court of Human Rights has only recently said it is not,” he said.
“GetUp! has today described those opposed to same-sex marriage as “those who propagate hate” and as a partner of them in this campaign, 7’s Sunrise is now associated with that view, which only serves to vilify and marginalise a lot of good people concerned for families,” said Mr Wallace.