On 27 March 2018, following FOI requests, the TGA confirmed that their Advertising Compliance Unit (ACU) did investigate a complaint about this program submitted by Prof Jon Jureidini to the Complaint Resolution Panel on 21 February 2017 who forwarded it to the TGA on 21 April 2017.
The ACU wrote to Channel Nine regarding the segment, and indicated that its preliminary view was that the segment may have satisfied the definition of ‘advertisement’ in the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 and that the advertisement may have breached the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code.
The ACU requested deletion of the following material which contained information presented in the broadcast, and, at that time, was still available:
- A tweet posted by the ACA twitter account
- A story on the 9 News website
- Copies of the broadcast on digital streaming services, such as YouTube.
While no final position was reached in relation to the advertising requirements by the TGA ACU, Channel Nine removed the material referred to above.
Previously, in relation to a similar complaint, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) concluded on 31 May 2017 that the licensee did not breach clause 3.3.1 of the Code, ‘In broadcasting a news or Current Affairs Program, a Licensee must present factual material accurately and ensure viewpoints included in the Program are not misrepresented’.
In making this finding, the ACMA did not consider whether the media release, the findings by the researchers, or their methods, were scientifically supportable (which was the thrust of the complaint), merely that it was ok for Channel Nine to presume that a media release was a reputable source of information!
This case has been used in Monash SPHPM Media Workshops in 2017 (to be repeated in 2018)by