CRA supports proposal to remove “election advertising blackout” on radio

Staff Writer

Commercial Radio Australia has thrown its weight behind a proposal to amend the Broadcast Services Act of 1992, particularly in relation to the “election advertising blackout” rule.

The current regulations prevent political ads from being aired on radio from three days before an election, though digital media, print, direct and outdoor advertising are not subject to the same rules.

Now, a Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee headed up by Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald has submitted a report to the Freedom of Speech Legislation Amendment (Censorship) Bill 2018 proposing to amend the rule to keep pace with the current media landscape.

“This election advertising blackout rule is an old restriction that hasn’t caught up with modern media,” said CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner.

“The current rules lack consistency, and favour by default, rather than design, online media platforms over more traditional media formats,” said Senator the Hon James McGrath in 2018 following a Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.

“We’re very pleased the Senate Legal Committee has now also unanimously voiced concerns regarding the appropriateness of the ‘electoral advertising blackout’ in a changing media landscape,” said Warner.

“This advertising blackout has a significant financial impact on local radio broadcasters, and we welcome its removal as soon as possible to remove inequity in the marketplace and end the differential in treatment of local radio stations.”

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