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Channel Nine slapped down for privacy breach

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has found Channel Nine Adelaide guilty of breaching privacy provisions for airing unauthorised footage of a family involved in a home birth.

This is the first time a TV station has been slapped for breaching new privacy guidelines introduced by ACMA last December.

The February news story, about a deregistered midwife who had continued to practice, identified a family involved in a home birth. Nine aired footage of the family taken through their window as well as shots of the exterior of their house. While ACMA found the story was in the public interest, the watchdog decided this did not justify the invasion of the family’s privacy.

The concept of being protected against someone intruding on your private space is a key tenet of the privacy guidelines,” ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said in a statement.

It is partly based on a person’s reasonable expectation that their activities would not be observed or overheard. In this case, footage in and around the complainant’s home was found to be an invasion of privacy,” he said.

Nine Adelaide has agreed to introduce a tailored training program for staff and will post a link to ACMA’s decision on its website.

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