Professional Standards & Complaints
The Northern News and our Rural Report service are broadcast on 4KZ and KOOL FM in Innisfail and 4AM in Mareeba.
Both these news sources are regulated by the Commercial Radio Code of Practice. The Code covers areas such as accuracy and impartiality, material not suitable for broadcast, and news and current affairs content.
News and Current Affairs content is covered by Section 3 of the Code (see below):
3. News and Current Affairs Programs
3.1. In broadcasting News Programs, a Licensee must use reasonable efforts to:
3.1.1. present news accurately and impartially;
3.1.2. present news in a way that is not likely to create public panic, or cause serious distress to reasonable listeners, unless it is in the public interest to do so;
3.1.3. distinguish news from comment.
3.2. In broadcasting Current Affairs Programs, a Licensee must use reasonable efforts to ensure that:
3.2.1. factual material is reasonably supportable as being accurate;
3.2.2. factual material is clearly distinguishable from commentary and analysis; and
3.2.3. viewpoints expressed to the Licensee for broadcast are not misrepresented or presented in a misleading manner by giving wrong or improper emphasis on certain material or by editing material out of context.
3.3. In broadcasting News Programs and Current Affairs Programs, a Licensee must not broadcast material relating to a person’s personal or private affairs, or which invades an individual’s privacy, unless it is in the public interest to do so, or the person has provided implied or express consent for the material to be broadcast (or in the case of a person under 16, a parent or guardian has given implied or express consent).
3.4. A Licensee must make reasonable efforts to correct or clarify significant and material errors of fact which would be readily apparent to a reasonable person in the Licensee’s position or which have been demonstrated to the Licensee’s reasonable satisfaction in a timely manner.
3.5. There will be no breach of the accuracy requirements at 3.1.1 or 3.2.1 if:
3.5.1. the Licensee can establish on the balance of probabilities that the news or factual material is accurate; or
3.5.2. a disputed fact was not a material fact; or
3.5.3. a correction, which is appropriate in all the circumstances, is made within 30 Business Days of the Licensee receiving either a Code 1 For the avoidance of doubt, a Licensee will not breach this provision by failing to correct errors of fact which are of a trivial or minor nature. Complaint, or notice of a Code Complaint being referred to the ACMA (whichever is later).
3.6. A correction under this section 3 may be made in one or more of the following ways:
3.6.1. during a later episode of the relevant Program or a comparable Program;
3.6.2. on the Program’s website, the station’s home page or the Licensee’s main website as appropriate; or
3.6.3. in any other way that is appropriate in all the circumstances.
3.7. For the purposes of 3.2 above, a contribution made to a Current Affairs Program by a talkback participant will not be considered factual material, unless it is factual material that is endorsed or adopted by the Presenter. ‘Talkback participant’ means a member of the public who contributes to open-line discussions via the Licensee’s dedicated talkback line or by other communication methods accepted by the Licensee.
3.8. Nothing in this section 3 obliges the Licensee to allocate equal time to different points of view, nor to include every aspect of a person’s viewpoint, nor does it preclude a critical examination of, or comment on, a controversial issue as part of a fair report on a matter of public interest.
3.9. Current Affairs Programs are not required to be impartial and may take a particular stance on issues. However, a Licensee must provide reasonable opportunities for significant alternative viewpoints to be presented when dealing with controversial issues of public importance, while the issue has immediate relevance to the community.
3.10. Compliance with 3.1 and 3.2 must be assessed by taking into account all of the circumstances at the time of preparing and broadcasting the material, including:
3.10.1. the facts known, or readily ascertainable, at that time;
3.10.2. the context of the material within the News Program or Current Affairs Program in its entirety;
3.10.3. the time pressures associated with the preparation and broadcast of News Programs and Current Affairs Programs; and
3.10.4. in relation to a Current Affairs Program, the format and style of the Current Affairs Program.
The Code provides a process by which a listener can lodge a formal complaint to a station when they believe that station has breached the Code. The complaint options can be found in Section 10.
Complaints should initially be made to the radio station in writing or by email.
If a listener is dissatisfied with the response from the station, a complaint can be lodged with the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Material contained on this website, in either written or audio form, is subject to Coastal Broadcasters Pty Ltd internal professional standards.
Our website’s news and current affairs standards adhere to the provisions of Section 3 of the Commercial Radio Code of Conduct. However legally, the Code does not cover the streaming or written content on a website.
The Northern News and Rural Report are compiled by adhering to recognised journalistic standards of accuracy and impartiality, without political or commercial bias, and providing news of interest to residents of Innisfail and the Atherton Tableland.
In the event that you wish to make a complaint about any news content on our website please contact:
The General Manager – 4KZ and Kool FM (Innisfail)
Coastal Broadcasters Pty Ltd
1 Edith St, Innisfail, QLD, 4860
Phone: 07 4061 6677
The General Manager – 4AM
Coastal Broadcasters Pty Ltd
175a Brynes Street, Mareeba, QLD, 4880
Phone: 07 4092 4558
Your complaint will be referenced against the provisions of Section 3 of the Code and if it is agreed that a breach has occurred, a correction will be included in either the Northern News or Rural Report, (whichever news source breached the Code) as soon as practical, but within seven days.
You will be notified of the outcome of your complaint within two weeks of its receipt.