Anti-gay marriage campaign group the Australian Christian Lobby has accused morning TV show Sunrise of breaking TV’s impartiality code by supporting a same-sex marriage campaign.
Sunrise on Australia’s Channel Seven covered the launch of Marie Claire’s I Do campaign this morning (Thursday 7 June) and showed a debate on the issue between gay rights activist Dr Kerryn Phelps and the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL)’s Jim Wallace.
The ACL released a statement saying they ‘challenged the ethics’ of Sunrise for ‘facilitating and promoting the same-sex marriage activist campaign “I Do”’.
'Overt activism for news and current affairs programmes clearly conflicts with media ethics in the independence and impartiality they are supposed to reflect,' said ACL managing director Jim Wallace.
The ACL has lodged a complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) claiming that Sunrise breached the Commercial TV Code of Practice, which requires news programs to ‘present news fairly and impartially’. ACMA usually takes around eight months to respond to a complaint.
‘I admit that we're being a bit provocative in this, but there's no attempt to intimidate the audience into one particular viewpoint,’ Channel Seven’s director of news and public affairs, Peter Meakin said to Sydney Morning Herald. ‘I think it's less than desirable when people try to stifle debate on an important issue.’
Australian Marriage Equality national convener, Alex Greenwich, said: ‘It is the right of media outlets to editorialise for or against marriage equality as they see fit and the ACL should not be attempting to violate this right.’
Watch Sunrise’s coverage of Marie Claire’s I Do campaign here: