Hobart’s 7HOFM breaches political advertising rules

The Tasmanian commercial radio station has breached rules of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

The rules require all political advertisements to include an announcement immediately following the advertisement of ‘required particulars’, including the name of the political party responsible for the advertisement.

An ACMA investigation found that the broadcast of three advertisements for Tasmanian Labor candidate Jen Butler on 13 September 2017 breached these rules. 

Ms Butler is contesting the seat of Lyons in the next Tasmanian state election. The advertisements broadcast were followed by the announcement: ‘Written, spoken and authorised by Jen Butler, 36 William St, Perth’.

The ACMA found the tags did not comply with the rules as they did not make clear the advertisements were authorised by a political party and did not supply the address of that party’s principal office in Tasmania.

Three similar ads were made, here is an example of the ad copy:

Hi, I’m Jen Butler, your new Labor candidate for Lyons. You wouldn’t believe how many people I have spoken to, who want the Bridgewater Bridge fixed. Why isn’t there any pedestrian or cycling access? Tasmanians deserve the same infrastructure as the rest of Australia. It’s not much to ask. Please get in touch with me at jenbutlerlyons.com or find me on Facebook. I get it, and I am here to help. Written, spoken and authorised by Jen Butler, 36 William St, Perth.

‘Audiences have a right to know who is involved in preparing and placing political advertisements,’ said ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin.

‘Political parties need to clearly identify themselves when they are responsible for advertisements being put to air.

‘The level of political advertising is likely to increase in the lead-up to the next Tasmanian state election. This is a timely reminder to broadcasting licensees to promote the need for transparency in political communication to their advertisers.’

In response to the ACMA’s findings, 7HOFM removed the incorrectly tagged advertisements from its broadcast schedule. The ACMA and 7HOFM have also agreed on actions to avoid further breaches, including the broadcaster revising its procedures for checking political advertisements, especially in cases where they are tagged by the person authorising them.

More information about political matters and election advertising is available here.

A copy of the investigation report is available here.

While covering the CBAA Conference on Queensland’s Gold Coast this week, radioinfo has noticed what we believe to be similar wrongly tagged, geo-targetted political ads being played on Spotify for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

We have sought information on whether Spotify must also comply with the Electoral Matter regulations. What do you think? Listen to the ad below.


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