Network Ten breaches rules about political matter

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that the Network Ten's Perth licensee has breached the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA) by not broadcasting the 'required particulars' following the broadcast of political matter. Required particulars include the name of the person or organisation who authorised the broadcast.

The ACMA investigated the broadcast on 7 September 2016 of an advertisement for 'notbornyet', a campaign run by the organisation Emily's Voice.

The ACMA investigation followed a complaint that the advertisement constituted political matter and that the required particulars had not been broadcast immediately afterwards, in accordance with the standard licence condition in Schedule 2 to the BSA.

The ACMA found that the advertisement constituted political matter as it sought not only to influence the personal choices made by people experiencing an unwanted pregnancy but also to influence public opinion about abortion and its regulation, as part of the political process.

The BSA requires that all broadcasting licensees must cause the required particulars to be broadcast immediately after they broadcast political matter at the request of another person. Political matter is not confined to material broadcast in the context of an election campaign.

This ensures that:

  • listeners and viewers are informed about who is trying to persuade them to think or to act in response to political matters
  • people authorising this type of material are accountable for it.
It is important to note that the rules do not seek to prevent the publication of material, merely to ensure transparency as to its origins.

In response to the ACMA's findings, the licensee has undertaken to work with Commercials Advice at Free TV to incorporate the finding into the commercials review process and training in relation to advertising.

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