15 December 2006
ACMA finds 2000 FM broadcast advertisements
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has found the Multicultural Community Radio Association Ltd, the licensee of Sydney community radio service 2000 FM, broadcast advertisements during the Bosnian Program.
Clause 9 of Schedule 2 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 sets out the conditions applicable to services provided under community broadcasting licences. Clause 9(1)(b) states: the licensee will not broadcast advertisements, and the licensee will not broadcast sponsorship announcements otherwise than that as mentioned in this clause.’
The investigation followed a complaint received by ACMA that during a broadcast of the Bosnian Program on 27 May 2006 the licensee broadcast announcements without appropriate ‘tags’ to identify them as sponsorship announcements.
The Bosnian Program is broadcast on Saturday afternoons, and is one of approximately 45 different language programs broadcast each week by the licensee.
In response to the breach finding, the licensee has revised its sponsorship guidelines to include a one-month suspension and training sessions for providers of programs that result in a breach of the licence condition and termination of programs that resulted in further breaches.
ACMA considers these actions address the compliance issues raised by the investigation and will continue to monitor the licensee’s performance in this regard.
Investigation report #1711 is available on the ACMA website.
Media contact: Donald Robertson, ACMA Media Manager on (02) 9334 7980.
ACMA conducts various types of investigations under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the Act). Investigations under Part 11 of the Act are conducted in response to complaints received by ACMA relating to a possible breach by:
- a licensed broadcaster of the Act, the regulations, a licence condition, a class licence or a code of practice; or
- the ABC or SBS of a code of practice.
If a person wishes to complain about something of concern they have seen or heard on a program broadcast by a radio or TV station, and the matter is covered by a code of practice, the person must, by law, first make a written complaint to the station.
However, if a complaint relates to a matter covered by a licence condition, the person can complain directly to ACMA and need not complain to the station first.
There is a different code of practice for each broadcasting sector, and each code of practice contains a section that explains the complaints process that applies to that sector.
As some codes impose time limits for complaints, it is advisable that persons who wish to make a complaint write to the radio or TV station as soon as possible. For instance, the code of practice that applies to commercial television broadcasters enables them to decide to not respond in writing to complaints that are made more than 30 days after the date of broadcast.
When making a complaint to ACMA, persons must provide a copy of their complaint to the station, a copy of the station’s reply if this has been received, and any other relevant correspondence with the station. ACMA takes all complaints seriously (except for those that are frivolous or vexatious or not made in good faith) and acknowledges in writing all complaints.
For qualifying complaints, ACMA considers the information provided and offers the relevant station an opportunity to provide its perspectives. When all relevant information is available, ACMA assesses the complaint against the relevant licence condition or code of practice. When an investigation is completed, ACMA is required to notify a complainant of the results of an investigation under Part 11 of the Act. The form this notification is to take is not specified in the Act – sometimes it is in the form of a letter, but more usually it takes the form of a more formal investigation report, which is provided to both the complainant and the licensee concerned.
Generally, personal or private information provided in a complaint, including name and address details, are not disclosed to the licensee concerned if it is a licence condition matter. However, as code complaints are first made to a licensee, code complaints are usually made available to the licensee concerned. ACMA’s usual practice is to not provide personal or private information in an investigation report.
Under the Act, ACMA has discretion whether or not to publish the report of an investigation conducted under Part 11 of the Act. ACMA is not required to publish an investigation report if publication would disclose matters of a confidential character or likely to prejudice the fair trial of a person. If ACMA intends to publish an investigation report that may adversely affect the interests of a person, ACMA must give the person an opportunity to make representations in relation to the matter.