Monday, 20 January 2020 10:48

ACMA seeks feedback on ways that businesses influence broadcast news

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ACMA seeks feedback on ways that businesses influence broadcast news Courtesy YouTube

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is examining changes that have come about in commercial news broadcasts due to digital disruption, following studies in 2019 that showed about 80% of adults were concerned about large advertisers influencing the type and content of news.

The ACMA issued the statement on Friday, along with a discussion paper titled "Impartiality and commercial influence in broadcast news".

The ACMA is seeking comments from the public on the discussion paper by 28 February.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the organisation would examine whether current regulatory arrangements were fit for purpose.

“There is ongoing debate about the credibility of news delivered online. But TV and radio remain an important source of news for the majority of Australians," she said.

"If audiences have concerns about the credibility of news on TV and radio, then these need to be addressed by industry.”

Other findings of the ACMA research were:

  • eighty-eight per cent of adults were concerned that news was made more dramatic or sensational to attract more readers or viewers;
  • eighty-five per cent were concerned about the angle from which news was reported, rather than being balanced or impartial;
  • seventy-nine per cent said there was difficulty telling when a journalist was expressing an opinion rather than facts;
  • seventy-seven per cent were concerned about commercial businesses paying to have their products or services featured in the news, but not disclosing the payment;
  • ninety-seven per cent said they had noticed commercial influence in at least one news source; and
  • fifty-eight per cent said they were convinced that there was now more commercial influence in news, compared to three years ago.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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