Free TV’s Harold Mitchell Calls Plebiscite Blackout “Irrelevant And Ineffectual”

Free TV’s Harold Mitchell Calls Plebiscite Blackout “Irrelevant And Ineffectual”

Following on from B&T’s article yesterday that found any advertising for the pending gay marriage plebiscite would be deemed ‘political’ and hence would not have to adhere to the standards of the Advertising Standards Bureau, comes news this morning that the ads will have to adhere to ‘blackout’ periods before the vote on February 11 next year.

This morning, industry body Free TV issued a statement saying blackout periods were “outdated”.

Free TV Chairman Harold Mitchell AC said: “As we saw in the Federal Election, an advertising blackout period has no relevance and is ineffectual in the modern media landscape.

“Introducing another blackout period for the plebiscite that singles out commercial broadcasters is no longer appropriate in a converged media environment.

The blackout is a provision of the Broadcasting Services Act that was passed by the Parliament in 1992 prior to the introduction of pay TV and widespread internet access in Australia.

“The plebiscite blackout period will simply replicate what occurred during the election where both sides of the debate will simply transfer their advertising from television to digital media platforms and social media,” Mr Mitchell said.

“We are calling on Parliament once again to get rid of this outdated provision which only serves to put commercial broadcasters at a disadvantage to all other digital media.”


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