13 November 2002
ABA investigation into control of 2CH and 2GB
The action brought by Macquarie Radio Network Pty Ltd, Harbour Radio Pty Ltd and Radio 2CH Pty Ltd (the applicants) against the Australian Broadcasting Authority in the Federal Court, to prevent the ABA from publishing the terms of reference of its investigation into the control of 2GB and 2CH Sydney, has been discontinued. The applicants have agreed to pay the ABA's costs.
The ABA is continuing with its investigation, the terms of reference of which are attached.
Media contact: Donald Robertson, ABA Manager Media and PR on (02) 9334 7980.
TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR INVESTIGATION BY THE ABA INTO MATTERS RELATING TO THE CONTROL OF THE 2GB AND 2CH LICENCES
Having regard to the matters set out in Part A of this Notice, for the purpose of the performance of the functions of the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act), including the following:
- to suspend and cancel licences and to take other enforcement action under the Act;
- to monitor, and to report to the Minister on, the operation of the Act;
the ABA has decided to conduct an investigation under Division 2 of Part 13 of the Act into the matters described in Part B of this Notice.
A Background - legislation
- The Act includes the following objects:
- to provide a regulatory environment that will facilitate the development of a broadcasting industry in Australia that is efficient, competitive and responsive to audience needs; and
- to encourage the provision of means of addressing complaints about broadcasting services.
- The Act also charges the ABA with the responsibility for monitoring the broadcasting industry and confers upon the ABA a range of functions and powers that are to be used by the ABA in a manner that, in its opinion, will produce regulatory arrangements that are stable and predictable and deal effectively with breaches of the rules established by the Act.
- For provisions of the Act and the Criminal Code relevant to this investigation, see the attached Schedule.
B Matters to be investigated
- The investigation will be conducted into the following matters:
- The date on and circumstances by which one or more of Mr Alan Belford Jones (Mr Jones), Belford Productions Pty Limited, Hadiac Pty Ltd and Nadarci Pty Ltd came to be in a position to:
- exercise control of the licence for commercial radio service 2GB (SL4099) (the 2GB licence); and
- exercise control of the licence for commercial radio service 2CH (SL4098) (the 2CH licence);
and the manner at all material times by which any such control could be exercised by that person or company.
- Whether Harbour Radio Pty limited (the 2GB licensee), 2CH Radio Pty Limited (the 2CH licensee), Mr Jones, Belford Productions Pty Limited, Hadiac Pty Ltd and Nadarci Pty Ltd and any others who are obliged to do so have notified the ABA in accordance with the requirements of sections 62, 63 and 64 of the Act.
- Whether any offences may have been committed under the Act in connection with those notifications or in other communications or dealings with the ABA in relation to changes in control of the 2GB and 2CH licences.
- Whether any findings of, or information gathered by, the ABA in any other investigation, including the investigation into the disclosure of commercial agreements involving Telstra Corporation Limited, affect any of the matters to be investigated in this investigation.
- Whether the 2GB licensee and the 2CH licensee remain suitable licensees as required by the licence condition set out at paragraph (b) of subclause 8(2) of Schedule 2 to the Act.
- What action, if any, should be taken as a result of the ABA's findings in relation to the matters identified above.
C Conduct of the investigation
In conducting this investigation, the ABA will consider such other matters as are necessary to address the issues identified in these Terms of Reference and may, if it is considered desirable and appropriate to do so, amend these Terms of Reference to include any additional issues which arise in the course of this investigation.
The investigation will be conducted using the ABA's powers under the Act.
Schedule to terms of reference for ABA investigation into control of the 2GB and 2CH licences
The relevant provisions for this investigation include the following:
Broadcasting Services Act 1992
Sections 3, 4, 5, 6 (definitions of 'associate'; 'company interests'; 'control' and 'offence against this Act'), 7, 8, 10A, 41, 42, 50, 62, 63, 64, 158.
Division 2 of Part 13
Sections 200, 202
Schedule 2 [paragraph (b) of subclause 8(2)]
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