Complaint under section 8(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Prime News – news item repeated footage of a high tackle 12 times – allegedly in breach of violence standard
Standard 10 (violence) – item did not contain gratuitous violence – footage was repeated to allow viewers to decide for themselves if the player had intended to make the high tackle – not upheld
This headnote does not form part of the decision.
 An item broadcast on Prime News at 5.50 pm on 16 August 2007, reported that a rugby league player had been found guilty of a reckless tackle by the Australian National Rugby League judiciary and had been suspended for seven games. During the course of the item, footage of the high tackle was shown 12 times.
 Ray Corkett made a formal complaint to Sky Network Television Ltd, the broadcaster, objecting to the repetition of the footage of the incident.
 The complainant argued that violence was “offensive to many people and to see it repeated, repeated and repeated was uncalled for”, especially considering the time it was broadcast. He felt that the item was “ridiculously unnecessary exposure to violent behaviour” and that the footage should only have been shown once or twice.
 Having received no response from Sky, Mr Corkett referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.
 Standard 10 of the Free-to-Air Television Code of Broadcasting Practice is relevant to this complaint. It provides:
Standard 10 Violence
In the preparation and presentation of programmes, broadcasters are required to exercise care and discretion when dealing with the issue of violence.
 In its response to the Authority, Sky argued that the objective of showing the footage was to allow viewers to make up their own minds as to whether the tackle was reckless. It maintained “the purpose of the repeats was to show the incident from a variety of angles”.
 The broadcaster pointed out that rugby league was a contact sport and that the league player involved in the tackle had been given a seven-week ban. It considered that the video footage and the report highlighted the issue of the legality of the tackle, the player’s suspension and his subsequent appeal.
 The members of the Authority have viewed a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix. The Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.
 In the Authority’s view, the Prime News item contained violence within the meaning of Standard 10. However, it considers that the footage in the item was not graphicas the high tackle appeared to be unintended; the tackler’s arm made contact with the ball held by the other man, and was deflected upwards. Further, the tackle did not result in serious injury and the player who was tackled was able to walk off the field.
 Further, the Authority observes that the item reported the controversial outcome of a sporting incident. It agrees with Sky that the footage was repeated to allow viewers to decide for themselves whether the offending player had intended to make a high tackle, and whether the referee had made a questionable ruling. In these circumstances, the Authority concludes that the repetition of the footage was not gratuitous.
 Accordingly, the Authority finds that Sky exercised appropriate care and discretion when dealing with the issue of violence on this occasion. It declines to uphold the complaint that the item breached Standard 10 (violence).
For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.
Signed for and on behalf of the Authority
21 December 2007
The following correspondence was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:
1. Ray Corkett’s formal complaint – 17 August 2007
2. Mr Corkett’s referral to the Authority – 11 October 2007
3. Sky’s response to the Authority – 2 November 2007