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ACMA unable to fine TV Networks

ACMA has admitted it is unable to impose a fine on TV and radio networks when they breach their Codes of Practice.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is unable to fine television and radio networks when they breach their respective Codes of Practice.

ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman was a guest on yesterday’s MediaWeek programme on Sky Business, during which he was asked about responses to breaches of the Codes.

“Under the Codes of Practice that the commercial broadcasters and the commercial radio guys operate under, a breach doesn’t lead to a fine,” he said.

“If there is a trendline we might move to issue a license condition or a standard and that can lead to more draconian action.

“But the censure of a breach finding, I feel, the broadcasters take very seriously. They do take great note of what we say.

“There have been some high profile breaches in both TV and radio over recent times, but at the moment we don’t have the ability to issue fines about that.”

Last year the Nine Network gave an enforceable undertaking to ACMA in relation to Underbelly and Gordon Ramsay programmes for a period of two years. These included a confidential estimate of its revenue which ACMA could use as a fine if the undertakings were breached.

Many ACMA breaches result in the industry watchdog finding that a network agrees to address its internal systems and training to prevent future similar breaches.

They are frequently issued with the words “ACMA does not, at this stage, propose to take any further action in relation to this matter.”

12 Responses

  1. No surprise there.These guys just make sure when people complain those complaints are generally taken aboard and investigated.Just keeping the peace with the home viewer,because just about all complaints that are submitted are a waste of time

  2. you would think that they would be able to fine networks, the only options seem to be a friendly warning or revoking a networks license (which would never happen as i cant think of anything that would warrant such action) and very little in between.

  3. AndrewM:

    Spot on!

    However. A toothless tiger? More like a bunny caught in a spotlight.

    I’d like to know more about the executive structure of the ACMA. Who calls the shots? Tame commercial-TV types?

    Details required.

  4. ACMA is a toothless tiger, its CEO has just admitted as such. All it can do is hand out slaps on wrists. What a joke. Those ‘trendlines’ he talks about seem to be awfully long…

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