Election rules: what you need to know

How radio stations cover election material is regulated by the Broadcasting Services Act and now that the election is underway, managers and broadcasters will need to know the rules.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority regulates the broadcasting of political and election matter and the content of electronic communications.
Parts 1 and 2 of Schedule 2 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA) have provisions that deal with access, timing and identification regarding the broadcast of political and election matter.

The rules are licence conditions that apply to commercial and community broadcasters. The national broadcasters, SBS and the ABC, have separate requirements under their respective statutes.
Access for all parties
Once a station begins to cover “election matter” then it must “give all parties contesting the election a reasonable opportunity to have election matter broadcast during the election period.” Election matter includes, news, commentary, interviews, statements and discussions.
Advertising Blackout period
A broadcaster must not broadcast an election advertisement from the end of the Wednesday before the polling day until the close of the poll on polling day.
Identifying political matter
When broadcasting political matter at the request of another person, the broadcaster must tag the announcement using a form of words that identify the source of the announcement and are approved by the ACMA.
Keeping records of political matter
Records of the people authorizing political announcements must be kept until six weeks from the date of the broadcast or until the day on which the election ends.
Broadcasters should keep records of political stories in news and current affairs programs and must disclose commercial agreements relating to political matter.
For full details click here.

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