The Seven Network is appealing a ruling by the media watchdog that a Sunday Night story on a Brazilian tribe breached the Code of Practice.
The Australian reports the Australian Communications and Media Authority found Seven’s report breached the Code because it was likely to “provoke or perpetuate intense dislike, serious contempt or severe ridicule against a person or a group”.
It failed to present factual material accurately (clause 4.3.1) in some statements.
The story by Tim Noonan broadcast in September 2011, depicted a Brazilian tribe of Suruwaha Indians as a suicide cult that encouraged the murder of disabled babies. The report also included adventurer Paul Raffaele, who famously claimed in 2006 on Nine’s 60 Minutes that a West Papuan child called Wa-Wa had to be rescued from cannibals.
An advocate for the Suruwaha Indians, Survival International director Stephen Corry, described the report as “freakshow TV” at its very worst, with the Indians made out to be “cruel and inhuman monsters”.
“The Channel 7 crew told the Suruwaha they wanted to allow them to put their side of the story _ but actually produced one of the most grotesquely distorted pictures of a tribal people we can remember,” he told The Australian.
Seven declined to comment because it is challenging the ruling and has sought judicial review in the Federal Court.