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Advocating Terrorist Acts On TV Prohibited by New Standards

Australia (News4us.com) April 07, 2011

Advocating Terrorist Acts On TV Prohibited by New Standards

Advocating Terrorist Acts On TV Prohibited by New Standards

The ACMA has amended the anti-terrorism standards that apply to open and subscription narrowcasting television licensees.

The new standards, which will commence on 1 July 2011, include a new provision that prohibits the broadcast of programs that ‘advocate the doing of a terrorist act’.

The provisions provide greater community safeguards for circumstances where a program attempts to incite a terrorist act, but there is no clear evidence linking the broadcast material to the recruitment of persons or soliciting of funds for a listed terrorist entity.

Under the new standards, licensees of open and subscription narrowcast television services cannot broadcast programs that:

  • advocate the doing of a terrorist act; or
  • would be reasonably understood as directly recruiting a person to join, or participate in the activities of, a listed terrorist; or
  • would be reasonably understood as soliciting funds for a listed terrorist, or assisting in the collection or provision of funds for a listed terrorist.

The definition of ‘listed terrorist organisation’ in the standards is linked to:

i. the list of terrorist organisations prescribed in the Criminal Code Regulations 2002;

ii. those persons and entities listed in the Commonwealth Gazette by the Minister for Foreign Affairs for their association with the commission of terrorist acts.

The Broadcasting Services (Anti-terrorism Requirements for Open Narrowcasting Television Services) Standard 2011, Broadcasting Services (Anti-terrorism Requirements for Subscription Television Narrowcasting Services) Standard 2011, and the list of terrorist organisations in the Criminal Code Regulations 2002 are available from the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments at www.comlaw.gov.au. Information about proscribed persons and entities designated as such by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, pursuant to section 15 of the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945, is available from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website at www.dfat.gov.au.

Previous public consultation on the reform to the Anti-terrorism Standards

The ACMA first determined the anti-terrorism standards in March 2006, to address the significant community concern about the broadcast of programs that directly attempt to recruit people or solicit funds for terrorist organisations. The ACMA made minor variations to the standards in 2008.

Historical information on the standards is available here and includes information about the ACMA’s recommendations from the 2010 ACMA Final Investigation Report Al-Manar Television Programming (Word [353 kb] or PDF [414 kb] formats).

Public submissions to the ACMA’s proposed amendment to the Broadcasting Services (Anti-terrorism Requirements for Open Narrowcasting Television Services) Standard 2008 and Broadcasting Services (Anti-terrorism Requirements for Subscription Television Narrowcasting Services) Standard 2008 (together the Anti-terrorism Standards) closed on 12 February 2011.

Four relevant submissions were received from the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC), the Executive Council of Australian Jewry Inc (EJAC), Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA), and the Gilbert and Tobin Centre of Public Law at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The submissions from AIJAC and ECAJ were supportive of the proposed reform and indicated they would like the restrictions extended to prevent terrorist organisations from owning or operating a broadcasting service. ASTRA expressed their perspective on the effect of the new standards on the diversity of narrowcasting services. The UNSW reiterated views about the wording of the 2011 Standards that it had previously submitted regarding section 9A of the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995.

In making the new standards, the ACMA carefully considered all issues raised by submitters within its jurisdiction.

Submissions Received

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)
11 February 2011 AIJAC submission (PDF 35kb)

Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA)
14 February 2011 (extension granted)  ASTRA submission (PDF 478kb)

Executive Council of Australian Jewry Inc (ECAJ)
10 February 2011  ECAJ submission (PDF 66 kb)

Gilbert and Tobin Centre of Public Law, UNSW
11 February 2011 Supplementary document 1
(DOC 71 kb)Supplementary document 2 (DOC 67 kb)


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