Statutory control rules | ACMA

Statutory control rules

There are laws that govern how much control anyone can have over Australian media. This page contains key statutory control rules for Australian media ownership that are regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA).

Limitations on control of media operations in a licence area1

A person must not be in a position to exercise control of:

  • more than one commercial television broadcasting licence in the same licence area
  • more than two commercial radio broadcasting licences in the same licence area.

A person must not be a director of a company or companies that are in a position to exercise control of:

  • more than one commercial television broadcasting licence in the same licence area
  • more than two commercial radio broadcasting licences in the same licence area
  • a commercial television broadcasting licence and a datacasting transmitter licence.

A person may not hold a directorship in two or more companies which between them exceed these limits. Similarly, anyone who controls a licence or licences may not be a director of another company that controls a licence or licences if control of the combination by a single person would be prohibited.

Exceptions to control rules

In licence areas where there is only one commercial television broadcasting licence the ACMA may, in certain circumstances, permit that licensee to provide a second commercial television broadcasting service.

In licence areas where there are two commercial television broadcasting licences, the ACMA may, in certain circumstances, permit those licensees to provide a third commercial television broadcasting service.

The statutory control rules do not apply to broadcasting licences allocated under section 38C or section 40 of the BSA.

Foreign ownership and control

The BSA does not restrict foreign control of commercial broadcasting licences or foreign directorships in companies which control such licences. Foreign ownership of Australian media assets is regulated by the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 and Australia’s Foreign Investment Policy.


1 On 16 October 2017 the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Broadcasting Reform) Act 2017 made a number of changes to media control and diversity rules in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 including removing the 75 per cent audience reach rule and the two-out-of-three rule.

 

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