ACMA encourages content providers to tune in with audiences expectations

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released a new position paper, calling for broadcasters and other content providers to address today’s audience expectations, regardless of their channels of media consumption.

The paper was informed by the ACMA’s regulatory monitoring, compliance and research activities, existing industry safeguards, the findings of previous government reviews, and broader public discourse on community standards.

Nerida O’Loughlin

“This paper provides our views on what Australian audiences expect when they consume media, whether that be on TV, radio, in print or online. We identify important safeguards on issues such as accuracy and impartiality, transparency of commercial interests, privacy, and dealing with highly distressing content,” said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

“Co-regulation currently sits at the heart of TV and radio content regulation in Australia. It is incumbent on the broadcasting industry to effectively deliver on co-regulation to maintain the confidence of audiences and the broader community.

“We therefore expect broadcasters will take this research into account when reviewing and updating their respective co-regulatory codes of practice.”

It comes at a time when Australians are watching more on-demand content than ever before. 58% of adults used online subscription video services in a given week and 54% watched free-to-air television in June 2021. More Australians were also watching broadcasters’ own catch-up or on-demand services.

Current broadcasting codes of practice do not apply to online content, even when that content appears on a broadcaster’s live-streamed, catch-up or on-demand platform.

“With the rapidly changing content environment, we consider there is an urgent need for broadcasters to apply content rules consistently across their multiple delivery platforms so that all their audiences are afforded similar protections,” said O’Loughlin.

“We also intend for this paper to serve as a resource for a broader range of content providers outside of the regulatory framework, including print media and streaming services. These services should be asking themselves whether these audience expectations are being met by their current self-regulatory arrangements, such as terms of use.”


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