Confidential preliminary findings handed to SCA.
In December 2012, the ACMA began an investigation into the Today Network’s broadcast of the notorious prank call, where Hot 30 Countdown hosts Michael Christian and Mel Greig impersonated Prince Charles and the Queen to get a medical update on Kate Middleton from nurses at a hospital in London.
The ACMA’s investigation is considering the main matter of whether, in broadcasting that telephone call, Today FM breached a licence condition – that a licensee must not use its broadcasting service in the ‘commission of an offence’.
In particular, the ACMA is considering whether Today FM, by recording and broadcasting that phone call, was in contravention of the Surveillance Devices Act (NSW).
This week (June 18), in response to the ACMA’s preliminary findings, Today FM applied to the Federal Court to disallow the ACMA from continuing the investigation and potentially making a finding that Today FM breached that licence condition.
The ACMA intends to contest that application.
Southern Cross Austereo has released a statement saying:
“Today FM has commenced proceedings in the Federal Court which seek to prevent the ACMA making any finding that Today FM has breached a condition of its broadcasting licence. Today FM considers that the ACMA has no power to make such a finding.
“The ACMA has no power to investigate whether the recording of a telephone call breaches State or Federal laws and the agencies which do have that power have not conducted an investigation or sought any information from Today FM. Today FM also considers that the recording of the prank call did not breach any law.”