OPINION | Why Nine was right to air the Steve Dickson story

Steve Dickson was caught on hidden camera at a strip club   PHOTO: Yahoo News

Steve Dickson was caught on hidden camera at a strip club

PHOTO: Yahoo News

Despite claims A CURRENT AFFAIR aired footage of ONE NATION’s former Queensland state director at a strip club without consent from AL JAZEERA, Channel 9 had a duty to air the footage once it was leaked to them.

It was the promo that had senior politicians from all sides worried. As Channel Nine started airing a teaser for a special investigation of a politician at a strip club, all sides were wondering if it was someone on their own team.

By Sunday night word had started spreading around political and media circles the man who could be seen putting his hand down a strippers top was (former) Queensland State Director for One Nation Steve Dickson.

For the major parties there was a sigh of relief - it wasn’t one of their own!

After Monday night’s explosive story aired, Dickson’s inevitable resignation was announced Tuesday morning (unfortunate typo and all).

But many were asking how ACA got hold of the tapes that had been shot by Al Jazeera as part of their hidden camera investigation into One Nation and the NRA.

Immediately after the story aired host Tracy Grimshaw asked reporter Dan Nolan that very question;

“We have not paid one cent for this vision, it was leaked to us from Al Jazeera and there has been no payment of any kind made for that vision” - Dan Nolan

My co-host on the TV Blackbox podcast, Steve Molk, took issue with the idea the tape was leaked;

“Al Jazeera didn’t leak anything, they own the footage, they gave it to them” - Steve Molk

What we didn’t know at the time, of course, was that Al Jazeera didn’t give Channel 9 the tapes and it turns out the network is unhappy Nine aired the footage without consent;

“A decision was made by Al Jazeera not to broadcast it as part of the investigation,” said a statement. “The investigation exposed attempts by members of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party to obtain political donations in return for loosening Australia’s strict gun laws.”

“Al Jazeera did not consider it in the public interest to broadcast the material.” - Phil Rees, Al Jazeera

Nine has been forced to defend its use of the vision saying to multiple outlets;

“The footage was leaked to A Current Affair. We stand by the story and Mr Dickson’s resignation this morning highlights the public interest in broadcasting the footage,” - Nine spokesperson

Despite how Nine came to be in possession of a copy of the footage, producers absolutely made the right call in airing it. Steve Dickson was standing for a position in our Federal Parliament and voters have a right to know what kind of character he is.

The use of any footage to tell a story is not always cleared by the person who shot it. News programs have a defence of “fair dealing” when using copyrighted material. The use of this material in this instance is in more of a grey area due to the fact it had never been broadcast, but Nine would defend its use as being of public interest… and I agree with them.

I was surprised when the Barnaby Joyce saga broke members of the press gallery were saying The Daily Telegraph reporter Sharri Marskon had no right revealing details of a politicians private life. For the life of me I cannot understand this thinking. This was around the time Joyce was standing up for “family values” and the “sanctity of marriage” by opposing same sex marriage legislation.

In my book we have every right to know about the private lives of those who seek to represent us, especially if their actions go against their public values. We seem to think its okay to intrude on the private lives of celebrities but not politicians and that just seems completely bonkers to me.