Channel Nine breaches political advertising rules

Swan Television & Radio Broadcasters Pty Limited (Nine Network) has breached the rules for broadcasting political advertising by not properly identifying to the audience who had authorised the advertisement.

An Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigation found that the required information in an ad for the Western Australian Labor party was correct and present in the written form, but the speed at which it was spoken made the information unclear to the point of being unintelligible.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said anyone listening would not reasonably be able to understand who authorised the political ad.

“Correctly tagging political ads ensures transparency and accountability and promotes informed voting at elections,” Ms O’Loughlin said.

“To be fully informed, it’s important that audiences can identify the source of political ads and on this occasion the information was not made clear enough. It’s no good including the information if people can’t understand it.”

The broadcast breached the rules for tagging political matter in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. Advertisements from political parties must clearly announce the name of the entity and individual who authorised them and relevant town or city. On television the information must be both announced and shown at the end of the advertisement.

Required particulars in political matter must be readily accessible and understandable by audiences with diverse needs, including the vision impaired.

Following the breach finding, Nine will provide the ACMA’s investigation to its programming staff for their information.

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