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«COMMERCIAL RADIO INQUIRY Report of the Australian Broadcasting Authority Hearing into Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Limited February 2000 Sydney ISBN 0 642 ...»

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♦ If the live reads were broadcast as scripted, as the Rehame summaries suggest, this would constitute a breach of clause 4(2) of Schedule 2 to the Act. In a matter as serious as a breach of a licence condition, the Panel is of the view that it is unsafe to conclude that the summaries prove conclusively that the live reads were broadcast without the required particulars. The Panel does not have access to audio recordings or full transcripts of these broadcasts due to the age of the broadcasts.

Finding

–  –  –

Script Entitled ‘Who Really Pays’, Broadcast Between 26 May 1997 and 13 June 1997

The Panel finds that:

♦ The subject matter was inherently political.

♦ The issues raised in these scripts were matters of significant media, community and political debate during the period in which the matter was broadcast.

♦ The RCA was responsible for the approval of the content of the political matter presented to Mr Laws and 2UE for broadcast. The RCA requested the broadcast of the content of the scripts provided to 2UE and to Mr Laws. Thus, the required particulars in relation to the broadcasts were required to be announced following the broadcast of these matters.

♦ The live read scripts provided to 2UE and to Mr Laws do not include the required particulars.

♦ While noting 2UE’s submission on this issue, there has not been substantial compliance in this case.

♦ The Rehame summaries record the key phrases of the broadcast, which closely correlate to the phrases in the scripts provided to Mr Laws. There is no indication in the Rehame summaries that the Club Hotline number was read out. There is no indication in the Rehame summaries that any required particulars were broadcast.

♦ If the live reads were broadcast as scripted, as the Rehame summaries suggest, this would constitute a breach of clause 4(2) of Schedule 2 to the Act. In a matter as serious as a breach of a licence condition, the Panel is of the view that it is unsafe to conclude that the summaries prove conclusively that the live reads were broadcast without the required particulars. The Panel does not have access to audio recordings or full transcripts of these broadcasts due to the age of the broadcasts.

Finding

–  –  –

Script Entitled ‘It Has a Big Effect’, Broadcast Between 26 May 1997 and 13 June 1997

The Panel finds that:

♦ The subject matter was inherently political.

♦ The issues raised in these scripts were matters of significant media, community and political debate during the period in which the matter was broadcast.

♦ The RCA was responsible for the approval of the content of the political matter presented to Mr Laws and 2UE for broadcast. The RCA requested the broadcast of the content of the scripts provided to 2UE and to Mr Laws. Thus, the required particulars in relation to the broadcasts were required to be announced following the broadcast of these matters.

♦ The live read scripts provided to 2UE and to Mr Laws do not include the required particulars.

♦ While noting 2UE’s submission on this issue, there has not been substantial compliance in this case.

♦ The Rehame summaries record the key phrases of the broadcast, which closely correlate to the phrases in the scripts provided to Mr Laws. There is no indication in the Rehame summaries that the Club Hotline number was read out. There is no indication in the Rehame summaries that any required particulars were broadcast.

♦ If the live reads were broadcast as scripted, as the Rehame summaries suggest, this would constitute a breach of clause 4(2) of Schedule 2 to the Act. In a matter as serious as a breach of a licence condition, the Panel is of the view that it is unsafe to conclude that the summaries prove conclusively that the live reads were broadcast without the required particulars. The Panel does not have access to audio recordings or full transcripts of these broadcasts due to the age of the broadcasts.

Finding

–  –  –

Script Entitled ‘Big Tax Increase’, Broadcast Between 26 May 1997 and 13 June 1997

The Panel finds that:

♦ The subject matter was inherently political.

♦ The issues raised in these scripts were matters of significant media, community and political debate during the period in which the matter was broadcast.

♦ The RCA was responsible for the approval of the content of the political matter presented to Mr Laws and 2UE for broadcast. The RCA requested the broadcast of the content of the scripts provided to 2UE and to Mr Laws. Thus, the required particulars in relation to the broadcasts were required to be announced following the broadcast of these matters.

♦ The live read scripts provided to 2UE and to Mr Laws do not include the required particulars.

♦ While noting 2UE’s submission on this issue, there has not been substantial compliance in this case.

♦ The Rehame summaries record the key phrases of the broadcast, which closely correlate to the phrases in the scripts provided to Mr Laws. There is no indication in the Rehame summaries that the Club Hotline number was read out. There is no indication in the Rehame summaries that any required particulars were broadcast.





♦ If the live reads were broadcast as scripted, as the Rehame summaries suggest, this would constitute a breach of clause 4(2) of Schedule 2 to the Act. In a matter as serious as a breach of a licence condition, the Panel is of the view that it is unsafe to conclude that the summaries prove conclusively that the live reads were broadcast without the required particulars. The Panel does not have access to audio recordings or full transcripts of these broadcasts due to the age of the broadcasts.

Finding

–  –  –

Road Transport Forum Script entitled ‘Giveaways’, broadcast on 10 June 1998 The Panel finds that ♦ The text of the script is substantially similar to the statements broadcast by Mr Laws.

♦ The subject matter of this broadcast is inherently political.

♦ There was media and political debate around the time of the broadcast of this matter concerning the issue of government expenditure on roads.

♦ The broadcast is a broadcast of political matter for the purposes of subclause 4(2) of Schedule 2 to the Act. The Panel notes that it has come to this conclusion applying both the guidelines and the interpretation applied by the Authority prior to the publication of the guidelines.

♦ The RTF was responsible for the approval of the content of the political matter presented to 2UE and to Mr Laws for broadcast.

♦ The RTF requested the broadcast of the content of the script provided to 2UE and to Mr Laws. Thus, the required particulars in relation to the broadcasts were required to be announced following the broadcast of these matters.

♦ The announcement of the fax number for the RTF at the conclusion of the broadcast does not constitute substantial compliance with the requirement to broadcast the required particulars. There is no indication from the giving of the number in this instance that the RTF authorised the broadcast.

♦ The required particulars were not broadcast in relation to this broadcast.

Finding

–  –  –

Script entitled ‘Public Meetings’, broadcast on 6 August 1998 The Panel finds that ♦ The text of the script is substantially similar to the statements broadcast by Mr Laws.

♦ The subject matter of this broadcast is inherently political:

♦ The issues raised in the ‘Tar and Taxes Tour’ script were matters of significant media debate during the period in which the matter was broadcast.

♦ The broadcast is a broadcast of political matter for the purposes of subclause 4(2) of Schedule 2 to the Act. The Panel notes that it has come to this conclusion applying both the guidelines and the interpretation applied by the Authority prior to the publication of the guidelines.

♦ The RTF was responsible for the approval of the content of the political matter presented to 2UE and to Mr Laws for broadcast.

♦ The RTF requested the broadcast of the content of the script provided to 2UE and to Mr Laws. Mr Laws embellished the script during the broadcast: these embellishments can be considered to be Mr Laws’ personal opinion and hence outside the breach investigation. The material approved by the RTF (ie, the script) forms the basis for the broadcast and is political matter. Thus, the required particulars in relation to the broadcast were required to be announced following the broadcast of this matter.

♦ The contact details provided at the conclusion of the broadcast do not constitute substantial compliance. In addition, the broadcast was well under way by the time the RTF was mentioned.

♦ The required particulars were not broadcast in relation to this broadcast.

Finding

–  –  –

Script entitled ‘Tar and Taxes Tour’, broadcast on 12 August 1998

The Panel finds that:

♦ The text of the script is substantially similar to the statements broadcast by Mr Laws.

♦ The subject matter of this broadcast is inherently political:

♦ The issues raised in the ‘Tar and Taxes Tour’ script were matters of significant media debate during the period in which the matter was broadcast.

♦ The broadcast is a broadcast of political matter for the purposes of subclause 4(2) of Schedule 2 to the Act. The Panel notes that it has come to this conclusion applying both the guidelines and the interpretation applied by the Authority prior to the publication of the guidelines.

♦ The RTF was responsible for the approval of the content of the political matter presented to 2UE and to Mr Laws for broadcast and for the decision to present it for broadcasting.

The material was presented to 2UE and Mr Laws for broadcasting.

♦ The RTF requested the broadcast of the content of the script provided to 2UE and to Mr Laws. Thus, the required particulars in relation to the broadcasts were required to be announced following the broadcast of these matters.

♦ The announcement of the contact details at the conclusion of the broadcast do not constitute substantial compliance. In addition, the contact details provided at the conclusion of the broadcast were not expressly stated to belong to the RTF.

Finding

–  –  –

Foxtel Management Pty Limited Script entitled ‘Notes for John Laws on Re-transmission of Free-to-Air TV on Cable’, broadcast on 11 March 1998 The Panel finds that ♦ The material was prepared by Foxtel and was sent to Mr Laws.

♦ The content of the notes prepared by Foxtel is political in nature. The content of this broadcast by Mr Laws is also political in nature.

♦ The notes prepared by Foxtel form the basis for the broadcast by Mr Laws. The entire text of the notes can be found throughout the broadcast: Mr Laws did not substantially change Foxtel’s notes. Where Mr Laws added to these notes in the broadcast, the Panel is of the view that these additions do not substantially alter the emphasis of the notes.

♦ The issues raised in this broadcast were matters of significant media, political and community debate during the period in which the matter was broadcast.

♦ The broadcast is a broadcast of political matter for the purposes of subclause 4(2) of Schedule 2 to the Act. The Panel notes that it has come to this conclusion applying both the guidelines and the interpretation applied by the Authority prior to the publication of the guidelines.

♦ The Panel finds that the provision of the notes by Foxtel to Mr Laws was for the purpose of enabling him to fulfil his obligations under clause 2.1(b) of the Foxtel Agreement. As this clause provides that Mr Laws is to provide ‘ad lib comment from materials’ provided to him, it would appear that the additions by Mr Laws to the notes provided to him was in accordance with his obligations to make ad lib comments from the material.

♦ Foxtel was responsible for the decision to present the political matter for broadcast. They did this by preparing notes for Laws and presenting them to him for broadcast.

♦ Foxtel was responsible for the approval of the content of the political matter presented to Mr Laws for broadcast.

♦ Foxtel requested, pursuant to clauses 2.1(b), 6.2 and 6.3 of the Foxtel Agreement, that Mr Laws broadcast the content of the notes provided to him in March 1998. Thus, the required particulars in relation to this broadcast were required to be announced following the broadcast of this matter.

♦ The required particulars were not broadcast in relation to this broadcast.

Finding

–  –  –

10 Recommendations to the Authority The role of the Panel is to make findings which can be the basis for the further consideration by the ABA of what, if any, action ought to be taken once the facts have been determined.

Although not explicitly raised by the terms of reference submissions were made in the course of the hearing by a number of parties and evidence was given by a number of witnesses on the question of the action that the ABA should take arising from the facts which have emerged. Having regard to the submissions of the parties and the evidence the Panel has formed the view that it would be appropriate for the ABA to consider the imposition on 2UE's licence of particular new conditions.

The Panel is mindful of the statutory processes to be followed before any new conditions are imposed and, if adopted, the Panel’s recommendations are, of course, subject to these processes.

The details of the proposed conditions are discussed below.

The Panel therefore recommends that the Authority give notice to 2UE and to any other interested persons that it is considering the imposition of two new conditions on 2UE’s licence under section 43 of the Act. The first proposed condition would address the issue of disclosure of presenters’ and producers’ commercial agreements and the second proposed conclusion would ensure paid advertisements are clearly distinguishable from other program matter.

DISCLOSURE OF COMMERCIAL AGREEMENTS

The first condition should address three main aspects:



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