’60 Minutes’ producer Stephen Rice sacked after botched child abduction 8



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Stephen Rice has lost his job over the Beirut drama. Photo credit: Daily Telegraph.

It looks like Stephen Rice, the producer who spent two weeks in a Lebanese jail, might have taken the fall for the 60 Minutes child snatch fiasco.

Despite an “independent review” which recommended that no individual be sacked over the matter, Nine has announced that Stephen Rice “will be leaving the company, effective immediately”.

The report revealed the 60 Minutes operation had systemic failures at every level.

SMH reports, the review found that a number of “critically relevant questions” were never asked before a decision was made to film the attempted rescue-cum-abduction.

Amongst the questions the report says were never asked are:
1. Could payment to the child recovery agency encourage an unlawful act?
2. Could such a payment backfire on Nine?
3. Would Nine’s staff be participating in an unlawful act?
4. What were the potential consequences if the act failed?
5. What would be the impact on the reputation of Nine and 60 Minutes if the operation failed or resulted in injury?
6. Did the public interest in telling the story outweigh the risks involved?

The report also revealed that matters were made worse when 60 Minutes had come to operate with a degree of autonomy so great “that the executive producer saw no need to consult with the director of news & current affairs on the wisdom of commissioning this story”.

But was Nine was more culpable for having paid the child recovery agency, Child Abduction Recovery International?

“There was little practical difference in paying that company directly [or] paying Ms Faulkner, when Nine well knew what all of the funds would be used for”, according to the report by Gerald Stone, the founder of 60 Minutes in Australia in 1979; senior Nine executive David Hurley; and Nine Entertainment Co’s in-house counsel Rachel Launders.

The report also concluded that the commissioning and oversight of the story revealed “poor judgement” and a “failure to adhere to Nine’s usual procedures”.

Do you think Stephen Rice should be the only one to face the music?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. That’s what happens when you are the Boss. Usually it is the staff who take the fall.
    Yes he should be culpable.

  2. The entire team went in with open eyes and knowledge of this event. They are all experienced enough to know the legality and dangers, so why one person to take the fall. All or none should be punished as a combined unit.

  3. one in all in dunno what channel 9 are doing their ratings went sky high news papers sold 60 minutes will be responsible for the Australian GOV no vetting all single Muslim parents [married to an Australian] from leaving the country some good has become of this, sack one sack the lot , no doubt Stephen Rice will get another job

  4. I believe they are all guilty of a crime that would see them do ten to fifteen years if tried in Australia and yes heads should roll at channel nine but all the heads including Tara Brown ,the old adage give them enough rope and they will hang themselves only at the moment they have managed to slip the noose SHAME SHAME SHAME!!!!!!!

  5. All or none should face th music ! Poor form Chanel 9.

  6. Tara Brown is just as guilty and should be sacked as well, it was terrible for the mother just so they could get a story!!

  7. Every one involved in this conspiracy to kidnap the children are guilty of a crime. Funny, how Tara got bail but did not have passport cancelled. Bribery at work?

  8. The whole matter became very distasteful. The legality of the proceedures should have been examined before departing Australia however, it is sad that one guy has to take the fall to cover up the embarrassment of the top of the journalistic department. There is politics in everything even 60 minutes

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