Federal Court dismisses Channel Seven challenge | ACMA

Federal Court dismisses Channel Seven challenge

The Federal Court today found in favour of the Australian Communications and Media Authority in the matter of Channel Seven Adelaide Pty Ltd v ACMA.

His Honour Mr Justice Yates upheld an ACMA finding Channel Seven Adelaide Pty Ltd (SAS7) had breached a licence condition by broadcasting a news segment on 18 July 2010 called “Cheap Cigarette Imports”.

‘The ACMA welcomes this decision,’ said Acting ACMA Chairman, Richard Bean. ‘It provides an important reminder the legal prohibitions against the advertising of tobacco are very strict.

‘The law serves an important public health purpose and the ACMA will continue to be vigilant in this area. The ACMA will now consider what remedial action is appropriate.’ 

The news segment on SAS7 related to the sale by Coles supermarkets of budget brands of cigarettes imported from Germany. The ACMA decided the segment involved the broadcast of a tobacco advertisement in contravention of section 13 of the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992. SAS7 challenged the ACMA’s decision on several grounds. Each was rejected by the Court. 

Among other things, SAS7 contended it did not have the necessary intention to promote the sale of cigarettes. Justice Yates rejected this submission and accepted the ACMA's finding that if ‘a person means to broadcast material that gives publicity to or otherwise promotes or is intended to promote smoking...then the intention will be established’.

The Court dismissed SAS7's application in its entirety and awarded the ACMA costs.

NB.   On 4 September 2013, SAS7 lodged an appeal to the Full Federal Court against this decision.  The date of the appeal is yet to be fixed but it is likely to be heard early in 2014.

For more information please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

Media release 60/2013 - 14 August

Last updated: 18 July 2016