The Blackout – just a touch, out of touch.

Staff Writer

The Political Ad Blackout is in effect now, meaning commercial radio and television cannot run any party’s ads. Yet any one of them can flog a video on Facebook or an ad anywhere on the net for that matter.

Some are saying that the section of Broadcasting Services Act 1992 is just a touch out of touch. It was drafted at a time when the net and social media wasn’t as big as it is now. The idea back then was for it to give voters some breathing space, whereas chances are that now with the 24/7 news cycle many may have already cast their vote.

An election generally is a nice windfall to radio’s bottom line, but with the Blackout in play the industry misses out – and it could be argued that radio stands to gain the most from advertising in the last 24 hours or so, particularly on the Saturday of an election.

We asked CEO of Commercial Radio Australia Joan Warner for her thoughts:

“In an era where political parties can inundate voters with messages via social media and mobile communications right up until they vote, the current laws which apply only to radio and TV are not only hopelessly out of date but discriminatory and inequitable. We’ve  raised this issue on numerous occasions with Govt. and will continue to do so in the next Parliament”.

While both Radio and Television have to abide by the rules, Social Media and Print escape, so does direct (leaflets/letterbox) and even outdoor digital signage.

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