Bark but not bite?

Published On 28/03/2014 | By Peta Stevenson | Enforcement

In its recent decision of Today FM (Sydney) Pty Limited v Australian Communications and Media Authority [2014] FCAFC 22, the Full Federal Court has held that the investigative and determinative powers of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (“ACMA”) do not extend to making a finding that a broadcasting licensee, or any other person, has committed a criminal offence.  A determination that a licensee has committed an offence is a matter to be determined only by a court exercising criminal jurisdiction.

The successful appeal has vitalised the radio industry as it calls for reform of the ACMA.   Currently, the industry is lobbying the Federal Government for media reform, including limiting the types of complaints ACMA may investigate and to provide for greater rights of appeal.  For the moment, however, the watch dog’s teeth can still bite, but not so hard as to intrude into the sphere of criminal adjudication.

Read more about the decision in Emma Bathurst’s post on our sister blog IP Whiteboard.

Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA (Remixed to B&W)

About The Author

is a partner in the Sydney office of King & Wood Mallesons where she specialises in competition litigation with experience in a wide range of jurisdictions. Peta also advises clients on the application of the anti-competitive conduct, consumer protection and access provisions of the Competition & Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) and related state legislation. In 2001/02 she undertook her LLM at the University of Cambridge, during which time she developed a passionate if fleeting interest in rowing.

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