Sunday, 02 April 2017 23:43

Nine network breaches rules on gambling ads on kids TV Featured

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The Nine network has become the first television network to breach the rules forbidding gambling advertisements on children’s TV programmes.

The network broadcast six ads on its 9Go channel on 30 September 2016, between 7.30pm and 8.30pm, during the adventure/fantasy film, The Spiderwick Chronicles.

It was found to have breached the Commercial TV industry code of practice 2015 after an investigation by the Australian and Communications Media Authority (ACMA).

The broadcast children’s programme, classified as PG, started at 6.31pm but the code states that a commercial relating to betting or gambling must not be broadcast during any programme. principally directed to children, between 5am and 8.30pm.

The restriction on gambling advertising was expanded in the 2015 code to address community concern about children’s exposure to betting and gambling advertising, and the ACMA investigation was the first undertaken by the authority since the current code came into force.

‘In this case, the commercials encouraged viewers to use an online betting platform to stake money on the outcome of the 2016 AFL Grand Final and the player who would score the first goal in that match,” said acting ACMA chairman, Richard Bean.

“Since the code came into effect in December 2015, these types of commercials cannot be broadcast in programmes principally directed to children, regardless of their classification.”

The ACMA says Nine has indicated it has taken a number of steps to minimise the likelihood of future breaches.

“In light of those steps, and taking into account that this is the first breach of this new obligation, the ACMA considers that the compliance issues raised by the investigation have been sufficiently addressed,” Bean said.

The ACMA cannot "fine" or "prosecute" a broadcaster for breaching a code, or direct it to take any particular actions, including broadcasting a report of the ACMA’s findings.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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