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What media must disclose

Media organisations must tell the public about cross-media relationships and who controls them.

Disclosure of cross-media relationships

Media organisations must disclose their cross-media relationships when someone is in a position to control each operation in a set of media operations. These rules are laid out in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA).

Section 61BA of the BSA defines a set of media operations as:

  • a commercial TV and radio broadcasting licensee that have the same licence area
  • a commercial TV broadcasting licensee and a newspaper that is associated with the licence area
  • a commercial radio broadcasting licensee and a newspaper that is associated with the licence area

A media organisation must disclose its cross-media relationships when broadcasting or publishing matter about the business affairs of another party in a set of media operations.

Section 61BH of the BSA has further details about this.

What radio licensees must do

Sometimes a radio licensee will broadcast matters about a TV broadcaster or newspaper that is in the same set of media operations. When this happens, it must make a statement about the relationship.

This can be:

  • a 'business affairs disclosure' when the material is broadcast
  • a 'regular disclosure' under section 61BC of the BSA

What newspaper publishers must do

A newspaper might also publish material about a TV broadcaster or radio licensee in the same set of media operations.

When this happens, it must publish a statement in a way that will adequately bring the relationship to the attention of a 'reasonable' person.

What TV licensees must do

TV licensees also must disclose any cross-media relationships. If they broadcast material on a radio licensee or newspaper in their set of media operations, they should broadcast a statement. This must adequately bring the relationship to the attention of a 'reasonable' person.

Cross media disclosure notices

Changes in control

Licensees and publishers of associated newspapers must notify us when a person becomes, or ceases being in a position to exercise control of a licence. This must happen within 10 business days of the licensee being aware of the change.

Failure to lodge a required notification is an offence. We can refer matters to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Breaches of a TV or newspaper licence can lead to fines of $90,000. For radio licensees, the fine may be up to $9,000.

We may give an infringement notice under which a person or company must pay the stated penalty.

How to notify us

You can lodge your notifications online. Guidance notes are also available.

Changes to control for licensees (including restricted datacasting) and publishers should be submitted using the above form.

What we do with the information

These reporting rules give us the information we need to monitor and enforce the control and diversity limits in the BSA.

We keep a Media control database and Register of Controlled Media Groups that provide details of current controllers of commercial radio and television licences and associated newspapers. We update the database and register within 2 business days of notification of a change of control. We will review and confirm or cancel the entry within 28 days. Similar standards apply to the removal and alteration of entries.

A report of recent Recent control notifications and the Register of approvals and notices under part 5 of the BSA are available on our website.

If you ask, we can also give you a copy of, or an extract from, any entry on the database, notification list or register. We may charge for these services.

Conditional transactions

People involved in proposed media control transaction can ask us to update the Register of Controlled Media Groups when the transaction is almost complete. 

You can use the form ACMA B21 for requests about conditional transactions. You should send forms to control@acma.gov.au.

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