Industry concerned about the recent finding: Joan Warner

After speaking to the ACMA’s Chris Chapman about the High Court ruling, radioinfo sought comment from Commercial Radio Australia and Southern Cross Austereo.

SCA declined to comment, but Joan Warner explained more about the commercial radio industry body’s concerns.

She told radioionfo:

“As we have said publicly, the industry is concerned about the recent finding of the High Court and will examine the decision more closely.

We may ask  the Government to look at legislative amendment to ensure that the media regulator, an administrative body, does not have the power to decide if there has been the commission of an offence  or make inferences to that effect. This applies especially when the police, who are charged with enforcing the relevant criminal law, have apparently found that there has been no crime committed. 

The particularly troubling issue is that this is a case with no dispute over the facts, so it did not turn on differences in standard of proof between civil and criminal law, but instead on the different approaches of a law enforcement body on the one hand and the ACMA on the other.
We will watch with interest the action taken by the ACMA, given these differences in approach.  
 The ACMA certainly has a legitimate role in monitoring the Codes and requirements under the BSA, but in our view it should have absolutely no role in investigating and/or determining whether there has been the commission of an offence at any time but in particular when there is a police investigation underway or one has been completed with no charges being laid.  In our view it is the police, who have expertise in criminal investigation, combined with access to the specialist advice of the DPP in criminal matters, who should make these determinations, rather than the ACMA.”

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