Accuracy – from the frontline
From the regulator
18 June 2013
Jennifer McNeill, General Manager,
Content, Consumer and Cit...
The co-regulatory system
> Under the co-regulatory regime for broadcasting
regulation, industry codes of practice are:
o d...
Current accuracy obligations
> The accuracy obligations in each of the codes notified
to or registered by the ACMA differ....
Current accuracy obligations (cont.)
Accuracy obligations for the commercial broadcasters
Commercial Television Industry C...
Current accuracy obligations (cont.)
Accuracy obligations for subscription television
ASTRA Subscription Broadcast
Televis...
Current accuracy obligations (cont.)
Accuracy obligations for community radio broadcasters
Community Radio Broadcasting Co...
Code complaints
> Two-step process:
1. A person who believes that a broadcaster has
breached a provision of its broadcasti...
How many complaints do we get?
FY Contacts
and
complaints
Investigations
completed
Breaches Accuracy
investigations
Accura...
Who complains to us about accuracy
in the broadcast media?
> Some people have a personal interest in the
broadcast – in th...
Accuracy in practice
> Is the ‘program’ covered by a relevant code
obligation?
(News, current affairs or something else?)
...
Some questions to ponder
> What types of programs should be subject to
accuracy requirements?
> Are all facts equal?
> Wha...
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Accuracy from the regulator - Jennifer McNeill, General Manager, Content, Consumer and Citizen Division, ACMA

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Accuracy from the regulator - Jennifer McNeill, General Manager, Content, Consumer and Citizen Division, ACMA

  1. 1. Accuracy – from the frontline From the regulator 18 June 2013 Jennifer McNeill, General Manager, Content, Consumer and Citizen Division, ACMA
  2. 2. The co-regulatory system > Under the co-regulatory regime for broadcasting regulation, industry codes of practice are: o developed by commercial radio and television broadcasting bodies o registered by the ACMA if certain requirements are met. > The ABC and SBS develop their own codes and notify them to the ACMA.
  3. 3. Current accuracy obligations > The accuracy obligations in each of the codes notified to or registered by the ACMA differ. Accuracy obligations for the national broadcasters ABC Code of Practice 2011 >Developed by the ABC >Notified to the ACMA under section 8 of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 2 Accuracy Standards 2.1 Make reasonable efforts to ensure that material facts are accurate and presented in context. 2.2 Do not present factual content in a way that will materially mislead the audience. In some cases, this may require appropriate labels or other explanatory information. 3 Corrections and clarifications Standards 3.1 Acknowledge and correct or clarify, in an appropriate manner as soon as reasonably practicable: a. Significant material errors that are readily apparent or have been demonstrated; SBS Codes of Practice 2006 >Developed by the SBS >Notified to the ACMA under section 10 of the Special Broadcasting Service Act 1991 2 NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS 2.2 Accuracy, impartiality and balance ... all reasonable effort must be made to ensure that the factual content of news and current affairs programs is accurate, having regard to the circumstances, and facts known, at the time of preparing and broadcasting the programs. SBS will take reasonable steps to ensure timely correction of significant errors of fact.
  4. 4. Current accuracy obligations (cont.) Accuracy obligations for the commercial broadcasters Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice 2010 >Developed by FreeTV Australia (FreeTV) >Registered by the ACMA under section123(4) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 4.3 In broadcasting news and current affairs programs, licensees: 4.3.1 must broadcast factual material accurately and represent viewpoints fairly, having regard to the circumstances at the time of preparing and broadcasting the program. [...] 4.3.11 must make reasonable efforts to correct significant errors of fact at the earliest opportunity. [...] Commercial Radio Codes of Practice and Guidelines 2013 >Developed by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) >Registered by the ACMA under section123(4) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 2.1 News programs (including news flashes) broadcast by a licensee must: (a)present news accurately; [...] (c) distinguish news from comment; 2.2 In the preparation and presentation of current affairs programs, a licensee must use reasonable efforts to ensure that: (a)factual material is reasonably supportable as being accurate; (b)substantial errors of fact are corrected at the earliest possible opportunity.
  5. 5. Current accuracy obligations (cont.) Accuracy obligations for subscription television ASTRA Subscription Broadcast Television Code of Practice 2007 >Developed by the Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) >Registered by the ACMA under section 123(4) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 2.2 NEWS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS PROGRAMS (a) News and current affairs programs, including news updates, broadcast by Licensees must: (i) present news accurately, fairly and impartially; (b) In broadcasting news and current affairs programs to the extent practicable licensees: [...] (vi) will make reasonable efforts to correct significant errors of fact at the earliest opportunity.
  6. 6. Current accuracy obligations (cont.) Accuracy obligations for community radio broadcasters Community Radio Broadcasting Codes of Practice 2008 >Developed by the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA) >Registered by the ACMA under section 123(4) of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 Clause 3.6 News, current affairs (including news updates and promotions), documentaries, feature programs and interviews shall: 1.provide access to views not adequately represented by other broadcasting sectors, 2.present factual material accurately and ensure that reasonable efforts are made to correct substantial errors of fact as quickly as possible.
  7. 7. Code complaints > Two-step process: 1. A person who believes that a broadcaster has breached a provision of its broadcasting code first needs to complain to the broadcaster. 2. The person can complain to the ACMA where: o they receive a response from the broadcaster but believe it is inadequate OR o they don’t receive a response within 60 days. > The ACMA must then investigate the complaint.
  8. 8. How many complaints do we get? FY Contacts and complaints Investigations completed Breaches Accuracy investigations Accuracy breaches 2012 -13 (to end May) 3,606 159 42 47 9 2011 -12 2,273 232 72 47 7 2010 -11 1,512 197 72 36 13 2009 -10 1,676 189 74 41 11
  9. 9. Who complains to us about accuracy in the broadcast media? > Some people have a personal interest in the broadcast – in the sense that that their community, personal life or business has been (mis)represented in some way > Some people have a deep interest in the presentation of particular issues
  10. 10. Accuracy in practice > Is the ‘program’ covered by a relevant code obligation? (News, current affairs or something else?) > If a code obligation applies, was the material complained of factual material? (Using the lens of the ordinary, reasonable viewer or listener) > If the material is factual, we then examine whether the relevant code obligation was met
  11. 11. Some questions to ponder > What types of programs should be subject to accuracy requirements? > Are all facts equal? > What yardstick should we use to measure accuracy? > Do expectations of accuracy vary depending on the medium?

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