ACMA's new discretion reduces regulatory burden | radioinfo

ACMA's new discretion reduces regulatory burden

Friday 06 November, 2015

ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman has written to broadcasters reporting on the success so far of the new flexibility ACMA has to decide whether to investigate complaints.

After legislative changes last year, the ACMA has been given 'discretion' to decide if it will or won't investigate complaints. Previously it had no choice, as it was mandatory to investigate all complaints it received.
“Since the discretion to investigate came into effect (up to 23 October 2015), the ACMA has exercised its discretion to investigate 119 complaints and has declined to investigate 54 complaints, an outcome that has materially reduced the regulatory burden on broadcasters,” said Chapman in his letter to broadcasters, obtained by radioinfo.
The new flexibility makes sense in cases such as networked programs, with Chapman explaining:
“The ACMA received multiple complaints about a single program broadcast in multiple licence areas around the country and therefore involving numerous licensees. The ACMA exercised its discretion to open one investigation into the compliance of the licensee where the broadcast originated and declined to investigate the rest.”

The ACMA also chose not to investigate a range of relatively “trivial matters” for example, “in relation to remarks made about people’s hair colour, comments made about the musical taste of older people, an allegation that Formula 1 engine noises had been dubbed over the sound of cars with smaller engines and accuracy in relation to the exact location of a news reporter during a live cross.”

It seems the new lighter touch regulations are a victory for common sense and efficiency.

                          High level breakdown by sector of ACMA discretion to investigate complaints.

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