SCA condemns ACMA High Court Ruling | radioinfo

SCA condemns ACMA High Court Ruling

Wednesday 04 March, 2015

The High Court of Australia has ruled that the ACMA has the power to find 2Day FM in breach of the law in relation to the royal prank call scandal last year.

SCA and the ACMA have been engaged in a legal battle since March 2014, to establish the jurisdiction of the ACMA when a broadcaster is in potential breach of criminal law.

SCA has released a statement condemning today’s decision by the High Court of Australia.

“Today’s decision by the High Court of Australia, which reverses the unanimous decision of the Full Federal Court concerning the power of the ACMA to judge the criminal guilt of broadcasters, means that there is a serious defect in Australian broadcasting law. It is wrong for the broadcasting regulator to be able to itself decide whether a commercial television or radio broadcaster is guilty of committing an offence against any Australian State, Territory or Commonwealth law including laws where the ACMA has no expertise, experience or jurisdiction. 

This is an important issue for the entire commercial broadcasting industry which is why Free TV Australia and Commercial Radio Australia sought to intervene in the case. Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) will join with other broadcasters in seeking to have the law changed as a matter of urgency.

It is important to note that the case dealt only with the power of the ACMA under the Broadcasting Services Act and did not consider or make any findings about the conduct of SCA or 2Day FM.

SCA was informed by the NSW State Police and the Australian Federal Police late last week that they have completed their investigations of the recording of the prank call by 2Day FM and have concluded that the recording of the prank call by 2Day FM did not breach the NSW Surveillance Devices Act, the Commonwealth Telecommunications Interception Act, or any other law. These findings by the police forces who have the jurisdiction, experience and expertise to investigate the lawfulness of the recording of telephone calls is consistent with the position of SCA that the making, recording and broadcast of the call did not breach any law, code or regulation.”


The ACMA's Chris Chapman has welcomed the court decision. Industry body CRA says the ruling has ramifications for the entire broadcast industry.

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