The Australian Communications and Media Authority has issued remedial directions to Hawkesbury Radio Communications Cooperative Society Ltd., the licensee of 2VTR, a community radio service in Windsor, New South Wales.
In March 2014, the ACMA found the licensee in breach of the licence condition requiring it to encourage community participation in the operations of 2VTR.
This licence condition is a key point of difference between community broadcasting services and other categories of broadcasting service.
Community broadcasters that encourage community participation in their operations have sound corporate governance practices, value and promote membership and volunteering, and have an effective and transparent committee structure.
2VTR was given an extended period in which to fix its problems voluntarily. However, as the problems persisted, the ACMA issued remedial directions requiring 2VTR, among other things, to:
- develop a community consultation strategy and structured engagement program with a view to increasing membership and participation;
- clarify the rules around membership and the way that membership applications are dealt with; and
- report back to the ACMA on progress.
If 2VTR fails to comply with the remedial directions within the specified timeframe, the ACMA may take further action, including, potentially, suspending or cancelling the licence.
For more information refer to the Backgrounder below or contact Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Media release 51/2015 - 20 October
Community broadcasting services are broadcasting services provided for community purposes and are not operated for profit or as part of a profit-making enterprise. They differ from other broadcasting services in that they have a community focus and are required to encourage members of the community they represent to participate in their operations.
Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (the BSA), community broadcasting licensees are required to comply with the licence conditions to this effect at part 5 of Schedule 2 to the BSA.
The ACMA has a range of powers with which to address breaches of the BSA, licence conditions, program standards or industry codes. In the event of a breach of a licence condition, the ACMA has the power to give a licensee a remedial direction or to suspend or cancel the licence.
In keeping with the principles set out in section 4 of the BSA and in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 – Enforcement Guidelines of the ACMA, the ACMA adopts a graduated and strategic risk-based approach to compliance and enforcement. Enforcement action is to be commensurate with the seriousness of the conduct. Generally, the minimum power or intervention necessary is used to secure voluntary compliance by a licensee.
However, if informal resolution is unsuccessful, escalation to formal enforcement is generally considered to ensure that a licensee rectifies a breach or that it takes action to ensure that the breach does not recur.