TV networks are demanding a review of outdated rules that stop them from broadcasting political advertising before an election, with Facebook, Google and other online platforms exempt from such rules.
TV and radio stations are banned from showing election-related advertising from the end of the Wednesday before voting day, until the close of the polls.
However, the ban doesn’t affect online platforms such as Facebook and Google, or print advertising.
The “blackout” rules have been in place for over twenty years yet many TV broadcasters are arguing they are outdated now Australians are increasingly spending more time on social media.
FreeTV, a free-to-air lobby group whose members include Seven, Nine and Ten, has been one of the biggest critics of the blackout.
The group renewed its push to remove the rule in a submission to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s digital platform inquiry on Friday saying it “no longer makes sense”.
The election blackout was put in place to limit political groups from making last-minute, untested claims and to stop swaying votes from making last-minute changes based on an ad.
However, critics of the rule say it’s no longer relevant as Australia’s overall viewing habits are changing, and they can easily be exposed to election advertising by heading online.