10 August 2012
No breach by 2DAY FM
2DAY FM did not breach an additional condition of its licence or the Commercial Radio Code of Practice when it broadcast remarks regarding a disabled child on 20 April 2012.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority investigated the broadcast during which presenter Kyle Sandilands referred to a baby born in Pakistan with additional limbs as a ‘spider baby’.
The additional licence condition, which has been in place since 2010, is intended to protect children whose welfare or well-being may be put at risk by a broadcast. The ACMA found no evidence that the welfare or well-being of the baby concerned was, or was likely to have been, affected by the broadcast of the segment.
The ACMA also considered whether the broadcast breached code provisions which prohibit the incitement of severe ridicule of a person because of their disability and the broadcast of material which offends generally accepted standards of decency. It found that while the broadcast conveyed severe ridicule and was grossly insensitive, it was not likely to incite severe ridicule of the child among listeners. Nor did the broadcast offend generally accepted standards of decency: although the comments were in poor taste and offensive to some, they were not, in the sense contemplated by the code, lewd, coarse or indecent.
Complaints about compliance with broadcasting licence conditions are made directly to the ACMA. Complaints about compliance with industry codes are, ordinarily, first made to the broadcaster and escalated to the ACMA only if the complainant considers the broadcaster’s response inadequate.
In this instance the ACMA undertook concurrent licence condition and code compliance investigations even though no complainant had raised the potential code issues. This was to ensure that the ACMA addressed the regulatory issues relating to the broadcast comprehensively and efficiently.
The ACMA’s investigation was undertaken following receipt of three complaints that 2DAY FM had breached the additional licence condition imposed by the ACMA in 2010.
That additional licence condition followed 2DAY FM’s broadcast in which an underage girl was quizzed about her sexual history while connected to a lie detector. It is directed at protecting children whose welfare or wellbeing may be put at risk by a broadcast.
Earlier this year, the ACMA imposed a second additional licence condition on 2DAY FM directed at decency. The imposition of that second additional licence condition and its terms are currently being reviewed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.