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Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice

Commercial free-to-air television content is regulated under the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice. The Code is developed by Free TV Australia in consultation with the public and registered with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The Code regulates content in accordance with community standards; assists viewers in making informed choices about their own television viewing and that of children in their care; and provides effective measures for receiving and handling viewer feedback and complaints. 

Before registering the Code, the ACMA must be satisfied that it provides appropriate community safeguards for the matters it covers; is endorsed by a majority of commercial television stations; and members of the public were given adequate opportunity to comment.

The Code was most recently updated in 2018, following community consultation on the regulation of gambling advertising in live sport during children’s viewing hours. Prior to this a major review of the Code was undertaken in 2015. This review was conducted to ensure that the Code reflects Australia’s modern digital media landscape, upholds community standards and ensures appropriate viewer safeguards.

The changes to the Code made following that review:

  • Contained no change to the amount of advertising on commercial free-to-air television;
  • More accurately reflected how Australians are actually consuming television content;
  • Maintained key community safeguards in the areas of classification, news and current affairs, advertisements, and effective complaints-handling;
  • Incorporated a range of protections to limit the exposure of children to potentially unsuitable material, including specific rules for content after 7.30pm and advertising placement restrictions;
  • Made it more concise and consumer-friendly; and
  • Ensured commercial television remains Australia’s safest and most heavily regulated content platform.

A copy of the most recent Code (2018) can be found here.