Home Entertainment 'Robust' safeguards as ACMA brings in new commercial radio code of practice

'Robust' safeguards as ACMA brings in new commercial radio code of practice

A new code of practice which provides safeguards on accuracy and impartiality in news reporting by Australia’s commercial radio broadcasters is to be put in place by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The ACMA announced on Thursday it has agreed to register a new Commercial Radio Industry Code of Practice, submitted by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), the industry group representing the majority of commercial radio broadcasters.

Acting ACMA Chairman, Richard Bean. says the new code — which comes into practice on 15 March — contains “robust community safeguards across a range of areas”.

“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.”

The ACMA says CRA will be conducting a six-month education campaign by broadcasting community service announcements to inform listeners of changes to the code, as well as publishing information on the code on its website.

The new code was developed by CRA and replaces the previous Commercial Radio Industry Code of Practice.

In 2015, Sydney radio shock jock Alan Jones was rapped over the knuckles by the ACMA for what the media watchdog found were factually unsupported comments he made about the rate of warming of the planet due to climate change.

The ACMA had found that Jones, in a broadcast on radio 2GB in 2013, falsely claimed that a 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change draft report had "disproven" the panel's own climate change theories.

According to Jones, in his broadcast, the United Nations report on climate change "got it wrong by almost 100%." He claimed a previous IPCC report in 2007 stated the planet was warming at the rate of 0.2 degrees every decade, and said the updated report put the figure at 0.12 degrees – "almost a 100% error".

In its 2015 ruling, the ACMA found that Harbour Radio — licensee of 2GB — breached the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice 2013 after an investigation of the accuracy of the on-air statements by Jones.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).