Gretel Killeen, Media Watch’s Jonathan Holmes, 2UE’s John Stanley and Australian Press Council chairman Julian Disney will take part in community forums next month which will review and debate the radio and TV broadcasting codes.

Organised by the Australian Media and Communications Authority, the six sessions will delve into such issues as privacy, decency, accuracy, balance and fairness, complaints handling and classification and the time-shifting audience.

“Are the formal broadcasting codes that shape the boundaries of media keeping up with rapid changes in technology, social trends and demography, and community expectations?” said ACMA chairman Chris Chapman on its Engage website ( “We want to hear your views, so next month we’re holding a series of public forums called Citizen Conversations to explore this question. 

“It’s broadly accepted that the internet and the fast-moving social media are challenging traditional broadcasting advertising models and programs, driving different news cycles and generally pushing broadcasters to adapt to meet audience and business needs.

“This suggests new issues to consider. For example, it seems to a casual observer that product placement is now much more widespread in programs. Is that observation correct and, if it is, should this be disclosed? Is there enough transparency?

“In a world where anyone can blog, does this change how we feel about the real or perceived influence of high-rating radio announcers—and, in any event, do they really need to be fair and balanced? Should the principle of fairness apply to opinions?

“And what about the impact of citizen journalism and ‘instant media’ like Twitter and Instagram on the traditional notions of accuracy in broadcast news reports? How is that phenomena to be accommodated?

“The question we’re asking is whether the regulation is keeping up with these changes. In this new media landscape, can the codes be better targeted? Are there are just so many code prescriptions that it’s difficult to weigh through what’s important and what’s noise?”

The forums, which begin June 6, will be held at the ACMA’s Sydney office in Pyrmont and streamed live on the web. Among the other commentators who will participate are Jane Caro, Waleed Aly and Chis Berg of the Institute of Public Affairs.

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