23 February 2010
ACMA review of commercial radio standards
Research from the Australian Communications and Media Authority indicates that while three out of five (60 per cent) commercial radio listeners acknowledge that commercial radio is a business, three quarters (75 per cent) agree that advertising content should be clearly distinguishable from other content.
The research and an associated issues paper has been released as part of the ACMA’s review of the three commercial radio standards introduced after the ‘cash for comment’ inquiry.
‘Australians are passionate about radio, but equally they don’t want to be taken for a sucker,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. ‘Their enduring touchstone remains —truth in radio.’
The commercial radio standards govern the disclosure of commercial agreements entered into by presenters of current affairs programs and their sponsors, the need to distinguish advertisements from other programs and compliance by licensees with their regulatory obligations. Compliance with the standards is a condition of all commercial radio licences.
‘This review has two important objectives,’ said Mr Chapman. ‘It is intended to ensure appropriate community safeguards are being delivered, while addressing industry concerns about a range of operational issues within the existing standards. This is the first substantive review of the standards since their inception and will be a first principles, evidence-based review.’
The issues paper, which has been informed by a comprehensive program of commissioned research into community attitudes, industry compliance and international approaches, considers the need for any regulation, the scope of any regulation and how any regulation, if required, may be put into operation.
The ACMA has also registered revised commercial radio codes of practice under which commercial radio broadcasters will, for the first time, be required to accept complaints electronically under the new codes.
‘The move to online commercial radio complaints is a major enhancement and responds to community demands for a streamlined complaints process,’ said Mr Chapman.
The revised codes cover matters such as material that should not be broadcast, requirements for accuracy in news and current affairs, privacy protections, the rules for advertising, and a responsive complaints mechanism.
‘The ACMA registered a revised code of practice for commercial television in December 2009, so registration of the commercial radio codes completes the review of the co-regulatory system for commercial broadcasting,’ Mr Chapman said.
‘It also means that electronic complaints lodgement is now a reality across the community, commercial and subscription broadcasting sectors.’
The commercial radio standards issues paper and related research reports are available on the ACMA website. The closing date for submissions is Friday 16 April 2010.
Media contact: Donald Robertson, Media Manager on (02) 9334 7980.