Commercial Broadcasting - Preserving the Public Interest

Australian National University
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Federal Law Review, 2004, 32 (1), pp. 79 - 106
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During 1999 and 2000 considerable attention was focused on an inquiry conducted by the broadcasting regulator, the Australian Broadcasting Authority ('ABA'), into the commercial arrangements of a number of commercial radio presenters associated with talkback radio. In May 1999, an Australian Broadcasting Corporation ('ABC') program, Media Watch, alleged that, John Laws, a presenter with Sydney Radio Station 2UE, had financial arrangements in place with an organisation representing the major Australian banks, the Australian Bankers' Association. It was alleged that the effect of these arrangements was that Laws would broadcast positive comments about the banks. These comments were independent of any paid advertising run by the station for the banks or the Bankers' Association. Following the Media Watch revelations, the ABA announced that it would conduct an inquiry1 into the allegations in order to determine whether there had been any breach of the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) ('BSA') or the licence conditions or codes of practice to which Radio 2UE was subject. Following further allegations, the ABA, between July 1999 and November 1999, extended its inquiry to cover another 2UE presenter, Alan Jones,2 and presenters from four other radio stations: 6PR Perth, 5AD (also known as 5ADD) Adelaide, 5DN Adelaide and 3AW Melbourne
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