Communitys outrage vindicated
BOWRAVILLE Central School has had a win over Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes program following a segment the community says was inaccurate.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (AMCA) found the program unfairly identified the school during a segment about racial segregation.
The community was outraged at the way the school and town was portrayed in the segment, filmed in Bowraville last May, which focused on a number of Aboriginal students who had won scholarships to some of Sydney’s elite non-government schools.
The ACMA concluded TCN Channel Nine Pty Ltd (TCN) breached the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice (2004) by broadcasting the 60 Minutes segment in May last year, which unfairly inferred Bowraville Central School had been physically segregated on racial lines.
In the segment TCN showed only footage of Bowraville Central School while its reporter said: “It wasn’t so long ago that fences separated black and white students at Bowraville schools.”
The ACMA found a viewer would have assumed that Bowraville Central School had been segregated on racial lines by fences.
“We’re very pleased about the findings from AMCA,” principal Malcom McFarlane said.
“We just hope that this is the end of the matter and we can move on and all the positive things that come out of Bowraville Central School and the community can be the focus of any media attention.
“This case highlights broadcasters’ need to take care that the footage they use accurately illustrates the issue they are referring to, so viewers are not misled,” chairman of the ACMA Chris Chapman said.
However the ACMA dismissed a claim the segment was inaccurate and unfair in other respects. The ACMA also did not accept a claim the segment had breached a requirement groups not be portrayed in a negative light by unnecessary emphasis on characteristics such as race.