Submission to the review of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice

This submission was prepared for the Free TV Australia review of the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice. The submission examines the proposed changes to the Code, and makes eight recommendations for Free TV Australia to strengthen its Codes of Practice based on the evidence of effective advertising and sponsorship control.


  1. Clear policy objectives are needed for the regulation of alcohol advertising. FARE has developed five principles for the regulation of alcohol advertising and recommends that these principles be prioritised and adopted in alcohol advertising regulation in Australia:
    I. Alcohol advertising regulation must aim to reduce the overall volume of alcohol advertising.
    II. Alcohol advertising regulation must ensure that activities are not targeted at young people and are not in places where children and young people are present.
    III. Alcohol advertising regulation must cover all communication formats including advertising, sponsorship, and print and digital, including social media.
    IV. Alcohol advertising must be independently regulated and have clear and consistent penalties for non-compliance.
    V. The alcohol industry should be required to report their annual expenditure on alcohol marketing activities to government to inform future policy directions.
  2. That Free TV Australia remove the exclusions listed under the definition of ‘commercial for alcoholic drinks’ in the Commercial Television Code of Conduct.
  3. That Free TV Australia separate alcohol advertisement restrictions from classifications zones and introduce as a minimum the prohibition of alcohol advertisements between 8.30pm and 5am, with no exemptions.
  4. That Free TV Australia close the loophole that allows for alcohol advertising outside the restricted times during sports broadcasts on weekends and public holidays.
  5. That Free TV Australia continue to allow for complaints about advertisements to be made in any form, whether it be by phone, internet or letter.
  6. That Free TV Australia continue to allow people who did not directly view the offending broadcast to make a complaint.
  7. That Free TV Australia, at a minimum, retain the requirement that the Code is publicised across all viewing zones, including information on how to get a copy of the Code.
  8. That Free TV Australia retain the current requirements for reporting complaints in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice and make reports to ACMA publicly available.

FARE supports policy reforms that contribute to a reduction in alcohol-related harms in Australia. Our policy work is informed by the evidence of what is most effective in reducing alcohol-related harms. We support the progression of population-based health measures, which take into consideration the far reaching and complex impacts of alcohol-related harms.

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