The Codes of Practice Review - what's in store in 2019

hfriedlander, 18th December 2018

The CBAA, as the sector organisation representing the majority of community radio licensees, is responsible for coordinating the Community Radio Broadcasting Codes of Practice review.

The purpose of the review is to bring the Codes up to date with current practices. The review process includes a series of consultations with stations and other stakeholders, researching issues raised in relation to the current Codes, reviewing other sector Codes and guiding documents, and discussions with the ACMA.

The review will continue in 2019.

What's been done so far?

The CBAA has been speaking with stations and other stakeholders about their thoughts on the current Codes and the Broadcasting Services Act. So far, we have held focus groups and teleconferences in Melbourne, Brisbane, regional QLD, Adelaide, Alice Springs, and regional NSW, as well as conducting interviews and discussions at the Community Broadcasting Sector Roundtable with the National Ethnic and Multicultural Broadcasters’ Council, Community Broadcasting Foundation, Radio for the Print Handicapped Australia, First Nations Media Australia, Australian Community Television Alliance and Christian Media and Arts Australia.

The feedback has been invaluable in informing our thinking, revealing some fascinating views on community radio for us to take into account.

A range of key issues have been raised by those with whom we have spoken so far. It has been suggested, for example, that there should be further clarity around complaints processes, including what constitutes a valid complaint and how complaints should be managed. As well as refining the complaints Code, the CBAA is working to develop a clearer process around complaints handling that will support the new Codes.

Consultation feedback strongly supported an approach to strengthening station governance and we were told that a clearer articulation of good governance would be welcome. The CBAA is also looking to align the governance code with the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC) governance principles to reduce red tape for stations that also report to the ACNC.

Public debate about gambling advertising on commercial radio and TV means we need to consider the issue in our sector. Feedback suggests that this isn’t a significant issue for the sector, however, where it is covered, appropriate messaging about responsible gambling should be included.

In general, there was strong support for the CBAA to develop additional guidance and case studies to support the Codes and guide a station’s implementation in their unique organisational context.

Some issues relating to the Broadcasting Services Act (such as the five minute sponsorship allowance and the definition of advertising) were also raised. While not within the scope of the Codes review, the CBAA will continue to be informed by such discussion.

What's in store in 2019?
  1. Initial re-drafts of the Codes will continue to be refined, considering the feedback received thus far.
  2. A first proposed Codes will be presented to the sector for consultation and feedback early-mid 2019.
  3. Comments will be incorporated into a subsequent draft and the CBAA will consult with the ACMA.
  4. CBAA releases the new draft Code for further sector and public consultation.
  5. Sector and public feedback will be analysed and considered, and copies of submissions and annotated consequential changes will be provided to the ACMA, along with the draft Code.

If you have any questions about the Codes review process or would like to provide feedback on the current Codes and how they affect your station, please email Holly Friedlander Liddicoat at [email protected].

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