Perth-based community TV station West Television has breached the ASTRA Open Narrowcast Television Codes of Practice for failing to respond to a viewer complaint within 60 days.
The Australian Media and Communications Authority found WTV failed to address a complaint about Russian 24/7 English-language news channel RT World News in February.
The complainant questioned the programming of “Russian Government propaganda.”
“Does RT pay West TV to air the programming?” they asked, noting that the Code requires, “factual material will be clearly distinguished from commentary, analysis or simulation.”
“I contacted West TV three times over the specified 60 days, twice through their website, once through general email,” they continued.
ACMA was unable to determine the balance of the report because West TV did not supply a broadcast copy.
But it did rule them in breach for failing to respond to the complainant in the required time.
WTV, which claimed it did not receive initial complaints, said moving its operation from one web-hosting service to another involved a technical failure but ACMA ruled licensees must maintain a functional and accessible complaints handling system at all times. Complaints made ‘in writing’ do not preclude complaints sent via direct email or electronic complaint facilities hosted on a licensee’s website.
WTV has since changed its website complaints notice pushing for postal complaints, adding it “assumes no responsibility for comments, questions and/or complaints submitted ONLY via the electronic form.”