Election Ad Ban: relic of a past age | radioinfo

Election Ad Ban: relic of a past age

Wednesday 29 June, 2016
"The advertising ban is really a relic of an earlier age, before the internet, when we got our information from the television and radio."

University of Adelaide politics professor Clem Macintyre has told the ABC, broadcast laws have not kept up with media consumption patterns:

"Estimates are roughly a third of voters have probably already cast their vote. The idea of a cooling-off period has no relevance for them...

"So much information these days is gained from the Internet, which is not regulated, so we've really got to ask what's the point of a media blackout?"

As we have reported in past elections, the anachronistic ad ban, which goes back to the 1992 Broadcasting Services Act, disadvantages broadcast media over newspapers and the internet.

It is estaimated that $10 million has been spent so far in the campaign, $4 million in the last week alone, but no more of this will go to radio or TV in the next three days due to the ban.

Licenced broadcast media must stop playing election ads three days before an election, in this case from midnight Wednesday 29 June. But there is no three day lockout for internet or newspaper advertising.

The ad ban was first introduced to give the public time for a cooling off period to reflect on the issues of the campaign, without ad clutter, in the few days directly before the poll. However, with nearly 8 million Australian homes having internet access, Macintyre (pictured) believes the ban is no longer effective in achieving its aim.

Clause 3A of Schedule 2 to the Broadcasting Services Act requires that a broadcaster must not broadcast an election advertisement from the end of the Wednesday before the polling day until the close of the poll on polling day, where an election is to be held in an area which relates to a licence area, or an area where a broadcast can normally be received.

The election advertising blackout applies to broadcasters, including:

  • commercial television broadcasting licensees
  • commercial radio broadcasting licensees
  • community broadcasting licensees
  • subscription television broadcasting licensees
  • providers of broadcasting services under class licences.

The blackout only applies to broadcasters. It does not include online services and print media. What do you think?


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30 June 2016 - 8:47am
100% spot on, an example of legislation that is not on pace with the rest of the real world. Of course in Queensland their is no blackout for Local Government council elections so adverting is on the radio up to and including the day. The audience manage to cope.
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