foxtel breaches act

Australian Pay TV broadcaster Foxtel has been reprimanded by the Communications watchdog for airing marriage equality campaign information without following due process.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigated the broadcast of a promotion from The Equality Campaign’s ‘Marriage Equality: It’s only fair’ series, back in February.

These promotions comprised a 30-second advertisement broadcast on Sky News Live during a program break in The Bolt Report and a 13-second information ticker looped across the bottom of the screen alongside news headlines and sports results.

The ACMA investigation found that the advertisement and ticker were classed as political matter because they sought to influence public opinion about the issue of marriage equality.

The advertisement which was broadcast at the request of another organisation, (Australian Marriage Equality Limited) also failed to feature particulars which is against the rules for broadcasting political matter.

These matters were not disputed by Foxtel, which indicated that the absence of the required particulars was inadvertent.

In a statement, ACMA said, “The rules for broadcasting political matter do not seek to prevent the publication of material but rather seek to improve transparency and accountability in relation to political messaging. Further, the political matter is not confined to material broadcast in the context of an election campaign.”

In response to the findings, Foxtel has undertaken to work with producers of programming and associated advertising sales agents to make sure they meet the political communications rules in future.