The Seven Network has an unwanted title: it is the most complained about TV network in the country over the past three years, with Today Tonight topping the list, especially in the year to last June.

The Ten Network came a close second, thanks to Big Brother, of course, especially from 2004 onwards. Nine’s 60 Minutes was also a regular source of viewer complaint.

Free TV Australia yesterday released the annual report listing complaints made about commercial TV for 2005-2006 (why it took over eight months to release is another thing. The report was itself dated January 24, 2007, so it has been ready for six weeks).

Seven’s Today Tonight was the source of 95 of the 1109 complaints made to commercial TV stations in the year (the report does not handle ABC and SBS complaints: they are listed separately in their annual reports).

The complaints mostly claimed “perceived bias and/or inaccuracy in reporting, graphic material considered to be inappropriate for the time zone and perceived discrimination in reporting”, the Free TV report says.

The report said that in releasing the report, David Leckie, Chairman of Free TV Australia “noted that in the year to 30 June 2006 commercial television stations upheld complaints about 16 program items. Less than 6% of complaints received by stations were referred to ACMA for investigation, indicating that most viewers were satisfied with the station’s response. Of the 61 complaints referred to the ACMA, only 16 were upheld.”

Here are the top performers for 2005-06:

  • Today Tonight (Seven Network) – there were 95 complaints mostly concerning perceived bias and/or inaccuracy in reporting, graphic material considered to be inappropriate for the time zone and perceived discrimination in reporting.
  • Big Brother Uncut (Network Ten) – there were 60 complaints mostly concerning sexual references and nudity considered inappropriate.
  • Seven Nightly News (Seven Network) – there were 54 complaints mostly concerning perceived bias and inaccuracy in reporting, perceived discrimination in reporting and graphic images considered to be inappropriate.
  • Ten News at Five (Network Ten) – there were 48 complaints mostly concerning perceived bias and inaccuracy in reporting and comments considered to be inappropriate for the time zone.
  • The Ronnie Johns Half Hour (Network Ten) – there were 47 complaints mostly concerning perceived discrimination and language considered to be inappropriate.
  • Sunrise (Seven Network) – there were 29 complaints mostly concerning content considered to be offensive, perceived bias in reporting, perceived discrimination and language considered inappropriate for the time zone.
  • Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show (Nine Network) – there were 24 complaints mostly concerning nudity considered inappropriate for the time zone and the welfare of animals.
  • Home and Away (Seven Network) – there were 23 complaints mostly concerning storylines considered inappropriate for the time zone and drug references.
  • 60 Minutes (Nine Network) – there were 21 complaints mostly concerning perceived bias and inaccuracy in reporting, language considered to be inappropriate and footage and other material considered to be offensive.