Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ACMA Reply to Faruque Ahmed

Australian Government

Australian Communications and Media Authority
Level 15, Tower 1, Darling Park, 201 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW
PO Box Q500, Queen Victoria Building, NSW 1230
T +61 2 9334 7700, 1800 226 667, F +61 2 9334 7799

1 7 August 2009

Mr Faruque Ahmed
PO Box 349

ACMA file reference: ACMA2009/8

Dear Mr. Ahmed

Thank you for your letter received by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) on 13 August 2009, regarding your concerns about Overnights with Jim Ball broadcast by 2UE. You mentioned a broadcast on 12 August 2009 in particular.

The ACMA is the Commonwealth body responsible for the regulation of broadcasting, the internet, radio communications and Telecommunications. However, under the co-regulatory regime established by the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, broadcasters themselves have primary responsibility for the material they broadcast. As such, complaints must be made first to the broadcaster concerned if the matter complained of is covered by an industry code of practice.

In the present case, the matters you have complained about in relation to the content of the program are covered by the Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice 2004 (copy enclosed) and in that respect I refer you to clauses 1 .3(e) and 2.2(a) of the code. (Other clauses of the code may also be relevant; please see below.) Accordingly, your complaint must be first made to 2UE.

I note that you have sent a copy of your letter to the ACMA to 2UE; however, in order to meet the definition of a complaint at clause 5.2 of the code, your complaint should be addressed directly to 2UE. lf you are not satisfied with 2UE's response, or if you do not receive a response from 2UE within 60 days, you may then refer the matter to the ACMA. lf you want the ACMA to investigate your complaint under these circumstances, could you please provide us with a copy of all correspondence between you and 2UE. I enclose a brochure with further information about the broadcasting complaints process and the ACMA's role in it.

Please note that complaints to 2UE must be made by letter or fax and that 2UE is not obliged to respond to complaints made more than 30 days after the date of the broadcast which is the subject of the complaint.
2UE's postal address is as follows:
Level 1
170 Pacific Highway
Greenwich NSW 2065
Fax - 02 9930 9894

In your letter, you mention your telephone conversations with the program producer. Under clause 5.5 of the code, listeners who telephone a station alleging a breach of the code, and who wish to make a complaint, must be asked to make the complaint in writing. lf this did not happen when you rang, you should mention this in your complaint to 2UE. Please note, however, that commercial radio licensees are not obliged to respond to telephone complaints or pass telephone complaints on to program presenters for attention.

You also mention a caller who rang and was not allowed to speak on air. Commercial radio licensees are not obliged to put all callers to air. However, licensees in presenting current affairs programs must ensure that:
reasonable efforts are made to correct substantial errors of fact at the earliest possible opportunity (clause 2.2(a)) and reasonable efforts are made or reasonable opportunities are given to present significant viewpoints when dealing with controversial issues of public importance, either within the same program or similar programs, while the issue has immediate relevance to the community (clause 2.2(c)).

If you consider that either or both of these requirements were not met, you may include the matter in your complaint to 2UE.

I hope this information is of assistance.

Yours Sincerely

Eileen Haley
Assistant Manager
Investigation Section

Commercial Radio Australia Codes of Practice 2004
ACMA brochure: Complaints about television and radio content

1 comment:

  1. O.K. Follow the due process of law and see what happens!