Code review for Community Broadcasters

The Community Broadcasting Sector is reviewing its Code of Practice. This is the first review since the Code was registered in 1994. Public submissions are welcome by Thursday 26th September.

The Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) is facilitating this review on behalf of its member stations. The CBAA is the umbrella body for community stations.

“Community broadcasting plays an important role in Australia as the third tier of broadcasting operating in tandem with commercial and public broadcasters (ABC and SBS). The sector is unique in that it depends largely on volunteers to sustain station operations and programming on a day-to-day basis. Community stations number over 300 around Australia and vary enormously, from licence to licence, depending on the community they serve, whether it be Indigenous, youth, ethnic, RPH (Radio for Print Handicapped), Christian, Muslim, classical music or gay and lesbian. 70% of stations service regional and rural communities,” says the CBAA.

The Code of Practice sets out the agreed standards of conduct for community broadcasters in both program content and station operations. Community stations differ from other broadcasters in that they are run not-for-profit, depend on volunteers to program and run the station, and actively involve their community of interest in democratic decision making. This means the community broadcasting Code is also quite different from that of other broadcasters.

A range of specific areas are covered in the Community Broadcasting Code that “reach beyond broadcast content standards and into station operations standards, including conflict resolution procedures and meeting local information needs that are not met by other media. The Code also covers sponsorship, as well as Australian music content.”

The CBAA, on seeking input from all stations and sector organisations will submit the revised Code, along with all public submissions received, to the ABA in the first week of October 2002. Public submissions should be sent by post or email to Fran Morgan CBAA,

PO. Box 564,

Alexandria, 1435

or [email protected]