October 27th, 2006 at 10:15pm
It looks like John Laws had an absent minded and “whoops” moment recently, forgetting to mention that Telstra are one of his sponsors during an interview with John Howard about the privatisation of the telco giant.
2UE have taken action by notifying the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) of the breach of standards imposed by the ACMA’s predecessor, the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA). ACMA have launched an investigation.
The worst possible outcome (an unlikely one, but possible) here is that ACMA cancel 2UE’s broadcasting licence, and Southern Cross have to work out what to do with the Sydney based syndicated programming. Could the “John Laws Building” become a mere regional hub, providing programming for places outside of Sydney only? Would Southern Cross move their syndicated hosts to Melbourne’s 3AW or Brisbane’s 4BC? And what would happen to Lawsie?
Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that…and it probably won’t…I personally think that ACMA will just send Lawsie a “be more careful from now on” message after a lengthy investigation where they take into account the fact that he is almost always on the ball when it comes to acknowledging sponsorships, but the next little while could be very very interesting none-the-less.
Talkback king’s new cash-for-comment scandal
October 27, 2006 – 7:40PM
Radio talkback king John Laws is in hot water again for failing to
disclose his commercial agreement with Telstra in a recent interview
with the prime minister.
In an echo of the original cash-for-comment scandal, Laws is being
investigated for allegedly discussing Telstra’s privatisation without
mentioning he is being paid by the telco.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) today said it
would open an investigation into Radio 2UE Sydney’s compliance with
commercial radio standards.
During the cash-for-comment scandal that broke in 1999 and again in
2004, it was revealed Laws and his rival, 2GB’s breakfast announcer
Alan Jones, received sponsorship money from customers, including Optus,
Qantas and major Australian banks without disclosing it to listeners.
An investigation by ACMA’s predecessor, the Australian Broadcasting
Authority (ABA), found systemic failure in the commercial radio
industry to comply with self-regulatory codes of practice.
The ABA later introduced new standards that ensured presenters of radio
current affairs programs were required to tell listeners about their
sponsors whenever they were mentioned on air to ensure fair and
accurate coverage of matters of public interest.
Compliance with the standards is a condition of holding a licence.
ACMA today said 2UE, a subsidiary of Southern Cross Broadcasting, wrote
to it indicating it had breached the standard when Laws failed to
disclose his agreement with Telstra on his program on August 28, 2006.
“During his program on that day, Mr Laws made mention of the
privatisation of Telstra, one of his sponsors,” Southern Cross wrote.
“Telstra’s privatisation was also discussed in an interview with the
“No disclosure regarding his commercial agreement with Telstra was made
during the program.”
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said the regulator acknowledged 2UE’s
action in bringing the breach to its attention.
“However, ACMA has decided to commence an investigation into 2UE’s
compliance with the standards,” he said.
ACMA had begun collecting documents and would examine them to determine
what steps needed to be taken, Mr Chapman said.
ACMA has the power to suspend or cancel licences.
Southern Cross Broadcasting could not immediately be contacted for
Entry Filed under: TV/Radio/Media