The Australian Communications and Media Authority has agreed to register a new Commercial Radio Industry Code of Practice, submitted by Commercial Radio Australia.
‘The new code contains robust community safeguards across a range of areas,‘ said acting ACMA Chairman Richard Bean.
‘It incorporates important commitments by radio licensees about accuracy and impartiality in news, privacy, the treatment of participants in live-hosted programs and the broadcast of Australian music. It also requires advertisements to be clearly identifiable.’
CRA will be conducting a six month education campaign by broadcasting community service announcements to inform listeners of changes to the code, accompanied by information on the CRA website.
The new code was developed by CRA and replaces the previous Commercial Radio Industry Code of Practice. It comes into operation on 15 March 2017.
Commercial Radio Australia has welcomed the registration of the new code.
CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner said the new code has been developed following an extensive review and consultation process.
“The code has been updated to reflect changes in the modern media environment and to provide clear guidance to radio stations and listeners on what is required in each of the areas covered by the code. These include taste and decency, accuracy and impartiality in news, broadcast of Australian music, procedures for complaints handling and the broadcast of information in times of emergency,” said Warner.
“We have streamlined the code to remove duplication and where possible, we have made it consistent with comparable industries such as television. Radio remains one of the most highly regulated forms of media in Australia.”
The updated code contains no change to the amount of advertising on commercial radio and retains the high levels of community safeguards in relation to the protection of children, privacy and the broadcast of offensive content.
The code is part of the government’s co-regulatory regime for the commercial radio broadcasting sector and is developed under section 123 of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.
Warner said the industry would now write to ACMA requesting a review of the Disclosure Standard with the aim of converting the standard to a code. The code would still require licensees that broadcast current affairs and talkback programs to disclose commercial agreements.
She said there had been a high level of compliance with the existing Disclosure Standard with no breaches over the past seven years. Radio is the only industry in the modern media and communications landscape that has such a standard.
CRA has also published a new guideline on the responsible reporting of domestic violence, based on guidelines developed by Our Watch, the national organisation leading Australia’s work in preventing domestic violence.
The new guideline provides best practice when broadcasting domestic violence issues, including language use, protecting the survivor’s identity and the inclusion of information about support options for people who have experienced domestic violence.
The Commercial Radio Code of Practice and Commercial Radio Guidelines are published on the CRA website.