• Narelda Jacobs has called out Channel 7 for a racist social media post, demanding an investigation. (Channel 10)Source: Channel 10
Studio 10 presenter Narelda Jacobs says a full investigation is needed into the incident and that the channel will continue to cause offence while their diversity is so low.
By
Dan Butler

Source:
NITV News
14 Jul 2021 - 3:14 PM  UPDATED 14 Jul 2021 - 3:31 PM

Journalist Narelda Jacobs has called for a 'full investigation' into a racist social media post by Channel 7 earlier this week.

The post was made on the Channel 7 Facebook page on Monday, following England's loss to Italy via a penalty shootout in the Euro 2020 final.

"Three Black players failed in the penalty shootout which England lost 3-2 against Italy," it read, which linked to AAP copy decrying the subsequent racism faced by those players. 

The post was amended to remove the reference to the players' ethnicity soon after, and prompted Channel 7 CEO James Warburton to issue a mea culpa and a note to the channel's staff calling the incident a "terrible mistake".

But Jacobs said the apology was not enough, telling NITV News that the organisation owed it to their viewers to conduct a full inquiry. 

"Without following it up with an investigation, an apology is really hollow," Jacobs told NITV. 

"I think it's worth it to their audience to explain how this came about... and to say it was a mistake, because it may not have been.

"How do we know, if they don't know?"

Ms Jacobs' also spoke out on her program, Studio 10, on Wednesday morning.

"There's a lot of people who think it was deliberate to say that 'three black players failed to kick the penalty goals', and that is disgusting from anyone's standard, to name the colour of their skin," she said.

The incident has again thrown a spotlight on the lack of diversity within Australian media, and more specifically within Channel 7 itself.

In its most recent report, Media Diversity Australia found that the station had zero Indigenous on-air staff, editorial leaders or board members, and 95 per cent of reporters and presenters had Anglo or European backgrounds. 

Speaking to NITV,  Media Diversity Australia co-founder Antoinette Lattouf said the report cast doubt on the station's apology. 

"They lack representation at levels that are embarrassing," said Ms Lattouf. 

"When it comes to reporting on complex matters like race... Channel 7 has time and time again displayed an inability to tackle those topics with any nuance or integrity.

"As they have been repeat offenders in being racially inflammatory, it's really hard to believe (the latest incident) was an error."

Ms Jacobs agreed. 

"Because of their lack of diversity, these things will constantly come up for Channel 7," she told NITV. 

"It's our responsibility as an Australian audience to hold them to account."

Ms Lattouf encouraged journalists and employees at Channel 7 to work within the organisation to effect change. 

"Many will be feeling really uncomfortable... I implore them to use their platform and their privilege to work with their editorial leaders to make positive change."

It is not the first time the network has been called out for its coverage of racial issues. 

A 2018 segment on the station's morning 'Sunrise' program was found to be in breach of the television Code of Practice when an all-white panel, including Prue MacSween, questioned whether a second Stolen Generation policy was needed to help Aboriginal children. 

The Australian Communication and Media Authority ordered the channel to make an on-air apology. 

They were also forced to pay an undisclosed sum to 15 Aboriginal people who sued the channel after appearing as blurred silhouettes during the segment.  

Channel 7 has been approached for comment.

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