Reviewed privacy guidelines for broadcasters | ACMA

Reviewed privacy guidelines for broadcasters

ACMA media release 84/2011 – 25 August

Consent for children and other vulnerable people is clarified in privacy guidelines for broadcasters released for comment by the ACMA today.

The guidelines also set out the ACMA's approach to invasions of privacy - where a person's seclusion is intruded upon - whether or not in a public place.

The Privacy Guidelines were originally issued by the ACMA in 2005 to assist in the interpretation of privacy obligations developed by industry in the various broadcasting codes of practice. These cover the use of material relating to a person's personal or private affairs or which invades an individual's privacy.

As previously foreshadowed by the ACMA, the guidelines have been reviewed and are open for comment till 7th October, 2011. This is the first review of the Guidelines since 2005.

The obligations concerning the use of private information are clear but recent decisions have suggested that much better guidance is required around those concerning invasions of privacy. Also published today are two research reports, Community research into broadcasting media privacy (2011) and Australian's views on privacy in broadcast news and current affairs (2011), which were specifically commissioned by the ACMA to assist with its review. The research findings indicate that the ACMA's approach to the privacy protections in the broadcasting codes is in step with community attitudes.

In reviewing the Guidelines, the ACMA has considered:

  • the current provisions in the various broadcasting codes of practice;
  • the ACMA's broadcasting investigations concerning privacy since August 2005;
  • qualitative and quantitative research into attitudes to privacy, specifically commissioned by the ACMA to help inform the review;
  • the Australian Law Reform Commission's Report 108 For Your Information: Australian Privacy Law and Practice; and
  • general developments in the law in this space.

The draft guidelines are available on the ACMA's website.

The research reports can be downloaded from the ACMA website.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, on (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or

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Last updated: 08 May 2017