Awards revoked from Aussie journalists over false claims against MP

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance withdraws awards for reporters who aired erroneous accusations against former MP Andrew Laming.

Awards revoked from Aussie journalists over false claims against MP
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Two reporters have been stripped of their journalism awards after they were found to have broadcast false claims against a former Liberal MP.

The awards – for best broadcast interview, best TV news report, and journalist of the year - were given to Nine Queensland’s Peter Fegan and Rebeka Powell in 2021 for their reporting on alleged misconduct by Andrew Laming.

The reports falsely claimed that Laming had taken an indecent photograph of a woman bending over and showing her underwear while she was stacking a fridge with drinks.

Channel Nine was later forced to apologise and pay Laming an undisclosed amount, believed to be close to $1m

This week the board of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance announced the Clarion awards given the journalists who broke the story would be withdrawn.

The action follows the decision by the Walkley Awards to withdraw an award for the same subject matter in November last year.

Posts on the Clarions’ official Twitter account congratulating Fegan and Powell have been deleted.

An MEAA spokesman said no substitute awards would be issued.

Dr Laming said he was pleased the awards had been withdrawn.

“I was pleased to receive notice last night that the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance board has finally resolved to withdraw the three Clarion Awards for broadcasts about me by the Nine Network in 2021,” he said.

“The outcome was inevitable given Nine Network’s comprehensive apology to me in September last year which included the withdrawal of the allegations, an acknowledgment that they were not true and the permanent deletion of the offending broadcasts from the internet.

“This decision marks the end of a challenging period for me and my family.

“My vindication is now complete, and I intend to focus my attention on other endeavours.”

Nine’s director of news and current affairs Darren Wick said he was “disappointed” the awards had been withdrawn.

“The entry complied in all respects with the terms and conditions of the Clarions,” he said.

He said the Clarions had not told the journalists the basis for their decision and claimed they had no power to remove awards.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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