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Public Broadcasting and the Australian Experience. 1. The Australian broadcast media environment. Three sectors: Public : ABC and SBS (television, radio and online)

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1 the australian broadcast media environment
1. The Australian broadcast media environment

  • Three sectors:

    • Public: ABC and SBS (television, radio and online)

    • Commercial: Seven, Nine, Ten networks (free to air television with regional affiliates such as WIN, Prime and Southern Cross); Foxtel and Austar (pay television); Macquarie, Southern Cross, DMG, Austereo, (radio)

    • Community: not for profit radio and


2 australian regulatory environment
2. Australian regulatory environment

  • Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth) provides for licensing, ownership and content regulation for commercial and community broadcasting plus some limited regulation of internet content of harm to children

The australian regulatory environment
The Australian Regulatory Environment_______________________________

  • The BSA establishes the regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

  • The principal means of content regulation is by co-regulation

  • ACMA has a range of remedies including fines and injunctions

3 how the abc is established empowered
3. How the ABC is established + empowered

  • The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Act 1983 (Cth) empowers the ABC to:

    • provide within Australia innovative and comprehensive broadcasting services

    • transmit outside Australia news, current affairs, cultural and entertainment content

    • promote musical, dramatic and other performing arts

How the abc is established and empowered
How the ABC is Established and Empowered____________________________________

  • The Charter of the ABC requires that programs

    • contribute to a sense of national identity

    • reflect cultural diversity of the community

    • include programs of an educational nature

    • inform and entertain

    • are innovative, comprehensive and of a high standard

How the abc is established and empowered1
How the ABC is Established and Empowered____________________________________

- takes account of content broadcast by the commercial and public sector

- notes the standards of ACMA

- balance programs of wide appeal with those of specialist interest

4 scope of the abc
4. Scope of the ABC

  • The ABC is a $(A)1 billion business

  • 95% of the revenue comes from the Australian (Commonwealth) government

  • The ABC has:

    • Two national television channels in analogue, standard and high definition (eight separate news casts each night from each state and territory capital)

    • Four national radio networks

    • 60 local radio stations (AM and FM)

Scope of the abc
Scope of the ABC______________

  • Three digital radio stations online

  • Magazine, Music, DVD and ABC Books

  • Online at

  • 40 retail stores

  • 12 overseas news bureau

  • International satellite and pay television (Australia Network) and short-wave, local FM and digital radio (Radio Australia)

5 governance structure of the abc
5. Governance structure of the ABC

  • The Commonwealth government decides on ABC funding and appoints the ABC Board

  • This is the limit of government direction to the affairs of the ABC

  • The ABC is a statutory authority and not a department of government

Governance and the abc
Governance and the ABC____________________

  • The ABC appears three times a year before the Senate Estimates Committee

  • The ABC is accountable to ACMA in its handling of complaints and in the allocation of spectrum

  • The ABC is audited by the Commonwealth Auditor-General

Governance and the abc1
Governance and the ABC____________________

  • The ABC is required to produce a Corporate Plan every three years

  • The ABC is required to produce an Annual Report to the Commonwealth Parliament

  • The ABC is required to produce a Code of Practice

6 the abc and government
6. The ABC and Government

  • The Minister for Communications may direct the ABC to broadcast a particular matter of national interest

  • If this direction is given then the Minister must within 7 days provide to the Parliament the reasons for giving this direction

  • Otherwise, the Commonwealth is not able to direct the ABC

7 the duties of the board
7. The Duties of the Board

  • To ensure that the functions of the ABC are performed efficiently and with the maximum benefit to the Australian people

  • To maintain the independence and integrity of the ABC

Duties of the board
Duties of the Board_______________

  • To ensure that the gathering and presentation of news and information is accurate and impartial according to the recognised standards of objective journalism

  • To ensure that the ABC complies with relevant legislation

  • To develop content Codes of Practice

8 editorial governance
8. Editorial Governance

  • The Board in relation to its duties produces ABC Editorial Policies to outline editorial standards to staff and audiences

  • The Editorial Policies identify the requirements for ABC content in four areas:

Editorial governance
Editorial Governance_________________

  • News

  • Topical and Factual Information

  • Opinion

  • Performance

Editorial governance1
Editorial Governance_________________

  • Each category has its minimum standards

  • The standard of impartiality is expressed in two ways:

    • story impartiality (for News)

    • network impartiality (for documentaries and features and opinion)

Editorial governance2
Editorial Governance_________________

  • For News the standards are:

    • The ABC must take no editorial stand in its programming

    • Conflicts of interest are to be avoided

    • Accuracy is to be achieved

    • Be impartial. Do not unduly favour one perspective over another. Editorial judgments to be based on news value.

Editorial governance3
Editorial Governance_________________

  • Be balanced. Not necessarily achieved in the one program or story but sought as soon as possible.

  • Be questioning

  • Exercise civility

  • Confidential sources respected

  • Refer upwards

9 editorial compliance
9. Editorial Compliance

  • Director of Editorial Policy to ensure common understanding and quality assurance

  • Head of Audience and Consumer Affairs to independently assess complaints

  • 160,000 audience contacts; 40,000 complaints

10 summary

Australian Broadcast Media Environment

Australian Regulatory


How ABC established and empowered

Scope of ABC business

Governance and the ABC

The ABC and Government

Duties of the ABC Board

Editorial Governance

Editorial Compliance


ABC Act 1983

ABC Code of Practice

10. Summary

Thank you
Thank You

Murray Green

Director ABC International and Director Corporate Strategy and Governance, ABC

[email protected]

  • Review mechanisms:

    - Internal Ombudsman

    - Independent Complaints Review Panel

    - ACMA

  • Publish upheld complaints online