Issue for comment 22/2014 - 16 June 2014
On the 18 September 2014, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) decided to make the Children’s Television Standards Variation 2014 (No. 1) (CTS Variation) (CTS Variation).
The CTS Variation will take effect from 24 December 2014.
The CTS Variation and the accompanying explanatory statement are now available on the ComLaw website.
Objective of the CTS
The objective of the Children's Television Standards is to ensure that children have access to a variety of quality television programs made specifically for them, including Australian drama and non-drama programs, and to provide for the protection of children from possible harmful effects of television.
In June 2014, the ACMA released the proposed amendments to the Children's Television Standards 2009 for public comment. Submissions were accepted until 23 July 2014.
The ACMA received five submissions on the proposed amendments, three of which are available below:
Changes to the CTS
The changes to the CTS are aimed at reducing the administrative requirements of licensees while ensuring that policy objectives and community safeguards are maintained. Specifically, the changes to the CTS include the following:
Reducing administrative requirements
- removal of the obligations on licensees to provide the ACMA with annual schedules of children's (C) and preschool children's (P) programming
- removal of related 'variation' and 'displacement' reporting requirements and consequential amendments to the provisions relating to the notification of changes to annual schedules and
- removal of the requirement to provide on-air notification when changes are made to previously advised broadcast time, date and channel of C and P programs.
Maintaining policy objectives and community safeguards
- licensees to communicate to the public through the program schedule on their website the broadcast time, date and channel for C and P periods
- licensees to communicate to the public though the program schedule on their website or otherwise when changes are made to previously advised broadcast time, date and channel of C and P programs and
- clarification of suitability criteria relating to C and P programs.
The ACMA is committed to ensuring the effectiveness of its stakeholder consultation processes, which are an important source of evidence for its regulatory development activities. To assist stakeholders in formulating submissions to its formal, written consultation processes, it has developed the following guide: Effective consultation: A guide to making a submission. This guide provides information about the ACMA’s formal, written, public consultation processes and practical guidance on how to make a submission.
Publication of submissions
In general, the ACMA publishes all submissions it receives, including any personal information in the submissions (such as names and contact details of submitters). The ACMA prefers to receive submissions which are not claimed to be confidential. However, the ACMA accepts that a submitter may sometimes wish to provide information in confidence. In these circumstances, submitters are asked to identify the material (including any personal information) over which confidentiality is claimed and provide a written explanation for the claim. The ACMA will consider each confidentiality claim on a case-by-case basis. If the ACMA accepts a claim, it will not publish the confidential information unless authorised or required by law to do so.
Release of submissions where authorised or required by law
Any submissions provided to the ACMA may be released under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (unless an exemption applies) or shared with other Australian Government agencies and certain other parties under Part 7A of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005. The ACMA may also be required to release submissions for other reasons including for the purpose of parliamentary processes or where otherwise required by law (for example, under a court subpoena). While the ACMA seeks to consult submitters of confidential information before that information is provided to another party, the ACMA cannot guarantee that confidential information will not be released through these or other legal means.
The Privacy Act 1988 imposes obligations on the ACMA in relation to the collection, security, quality, access, use and disclosure of personal information. These obligations are detailed in the Australian Privacy Principles that apply to organisations and Australian Government agencies from 12 March 2014.
The ACMA may only collect personal information if it is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, one or more of its functions or activities.
The purposes for which personal information is being collected (such as the names and contact details of submitters) are to:
- contribute to the transparency of the consultation process by clarifying, where appropriate, whose views are represented by a submission
- enable the ACMA to contact submitters where follow-up is required or to notify them of related matters (except where submitters indicate they do not wish to be notified of such matters).
The ACMA will not use the personal information collected for any other purpose, unless the submitter has provided their consent or the ACMA is otherwise permitted to do so under the Privacy Act.