Skip to main content

Action on content complaints and investigations: October to December 2020

Accessed broadcast matters

We assessed 50 matters

Commenced investigations

We commenced 17 investigations

Finalised invetigations

We finalised 12 investigations

Breach finding

There were 8 investigations with breach findings


Decisions to investigate

We consider every complaint we receive and assess whether to investigate.

Number of matters / investigations

Graph 1

Investigations commenced or declined by sector

Graph 2


Investigations finalised

Graph 3

Investigations finalised by sector

Graph 4

Average time taken to finalise closed investigations as at 31 December 2020

Graph 5

Provisions investigated

The ACMA receives and investigates complaints about:

  • licence conditions
  • program standards
  • codes of practice.

Broadcasting codes of practice investigations usually assess a broadcast against more than one provision of the relevant code.

The table below shows finalised investigations and the relevant provisions. Breaches found during this period are shown in bold. Details of one investigation finalised in the reporting period will be added once it is published.

Investigation number

Date of broadcast / broadcaster


Provisions investigated

Provisions of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice 2015 (revised 2018)


10/02/20 / General Television Corporation Pty Ltd

Allegation that a Nine News report about a car crashing into a house revealed the identity of the occupants as police officers, putting them at risk.

  • 3.5.1: Privacy


29/11/20 / Channel Seven Melbourne Pty Ltd

Allegation that a Seven News report about a school lacked accuracy and impartiality, and breached the privacy provisions.

  • 3.3.1: Accuracy
  • 3.4.1: Impartiality
  • 3.5.1: Privacy


18/05/20 / Channel Seven Sydney Pty Ltd

Allegation that The Morning Show broadcast a BIG W advertorial without disclosing a commercial arrangement.

  • 4.1.1: Disclosure of commercial arrangements


5/08/20 / Network Investments Pty Ltd

Allegation that the Alan Jones program inaccurately reported on measures to reduce COVID-19 infections and encouraged people to break laws relating to restrictions to prevent infection.

  • 2.3.3: Exercise care in in selecting material for broadcast
  • 3.3.1: Accuracy

Provisions of the National Broadcaster (ABC and SBS) Codes


8/07/2019 / ABC

Allegation that Four Corners report ‘Cash Splash’ about water efficiency projects on the Murrumbidgee River lacked accuracy and impartiality.

  • 2.1 and 2.2: Accuracy
  • 4.1 and 4.5: Impartiality

Provisions of the Commercial Radio Code of Practice March 2017 (Revised 2018)


17/06/20 / Radio 3AW Melbourne Pty Ltd

Allegations that the 3AW Drive program incited hatred and belittled First Nations people.

  • 2.1.4: incite serious contempt, severe ridicule on the basis of race

Provisions of the Community Radio Broadcasting Codes of Practice 2008


N/A / 3RIM Inc

Allegation that a community broadcaster failed to provide an adequate response to a complaint

  • 2.1: encourage and assist participation in provision of service, have community participation policy
  • 7.3: Complaint handling

Provisions of Schedule 2 to the BSA


N/A / Inner North Eastern Community Radio Incorporated

Allegation that a community broadcaster was not encouraging community participation in the operations or selection and provision of programs.

  • 9(2)(c)(i): encouraging participation in operations
  • 9(2)(c)(ii): encouraging participation in selection and provision of programs


N/A / Creative Community Radio Inc

Allegation that a community broadcaster was not representing the community interest, and was not providing the service for community purposes.    

  • 9(2)(b): will continue to represent the community interest
  • 9(2)(d) providing the service for community purposes

Other provisions of the BSA


N/A / 11 ARN licensees

Allegation that ARN licensees did not notify of the change of control within 10 business days of becoming aware of the event.

HT&E Finance Pty Ltd did not notify that it was in a position to exercise control of the licences within 10 business days of becoming aware of being in that position.

  • ss 63(1): will notify change in control
  • ss 64(1):  will notify of being in a position to exercise control of a commercial radio broadcasting licence within 10 business days of becoming aware of being in that position in a form approved in writing.] (This provision was repealed on 12/12/2019).


1/4/2020 to 30/06/2020

Southern Cross Austereo

Licensee requested forbearance for 9 licences for non-compliance with certain local content and local presence obligations.

  • 8(2)(c): will comply with licence condition
  • ss 61CD(1): minimum service standards
  • ss 61CP: will comply with approved local content plan


Back to top