Updated privacy guidelines for broadcasters | ACMA

Updated privacy guidelines for broadcasters

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority has updated its privacy guidelines for broadcasters.

‘The ACMA developed the guidelines to assist broadcasters’ understanding and awareness of their privacy obligations under the various broadcasting codes of practice,’ said acting ACMA Chairman, Richard Bean. ‘First issued in 2005, the guidelines were last revised in 2011.’

The updated guidelines:

  • reflect amendments to codes of practice since 2011
  • include new case studies of key ACMA privacy investigation decisions over the past five years
  • update references to personal information and clarify the ACMA’s approach to consent, material in the public domain and children’s privacy.

The ACMA values engagement with broadcasters and the development of the guidelines was greatly assisted by consultation with them and other interested parties.

The updated guidelines are available on the ACMA website.

For more information please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

Media release 31/2016 - 9 September


The regulatory framework: broadcasting content regulation

Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA), Australian radio and television licensees have primary responsibility for ensuring that the material they broadcast reflects community standards. Many aspects of program content are governed by codes of practice developed by industry groups representing the various Australian broadcasting sectors. The ACMA registers codes (other than those of the national broadcasters, the ABC and SBS) once it is satisfied that broadcasters have undertaken adequate public consultation and the codes contain appropriate community safeguards for the matters covered by the codes.

The privacy guidelines

The Privacy guidelines are not legally enforceable and do not add to the obligations contained in the various broadcasting codes of practice. They are designed to increase general awareness of privacy obligations under the codes and assist broadcasters to better understand these obligations.

Review in 2011

The 2011 review of the privacy guidelines was the first comprehensive review of the privacy guidelines since their introduction in 2005. That review considered the ACMA’s investigations from 2005 to 2011; amendments to broadcasting codes of practice; developments in case law; and qualitative and quantitative community attitudinal research commissioned by the ACMA.

Updates in 2016

Investigation findings have led to developments in the ACMA’s approach to assessing compliance with privacy obligations and clarified the application of code provisions in a range of contexts.

Since 2011 privacy provisions in a number of codes of practice have also changed, for example in the SBS Codes of Practice 2014 and the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice 2015.

The updated guidelines reflect these developments.

Last updated: 09 September 2016