Tuesday 19 January 2010

ACMA launches new investigation in Cairns community radio station

Today the Australian Communication and Media Authority launched a new investigation into Cairns community radio 4CCR, following a formal complaint from CairnsBlog after 15 membership applications were rejected after being thrown into the corridor by the Vice President Pieter Blaauw.

ACMA is requiring Cairns community radio (4CCR Cairns FM 89.1) to adopt a range of measures to strengthen its corporate governance and encourage community involvement and membership as part of its licence renewal.

"The adoption of these changes including improving corporate governance and encouraging community involvement and membership is critical to ensuring that the radio station has a sound future as part of the Cairns community.," Federal MP Jim Turnour told CairnsBlog today.

"I have spoken with ACMA and the Community Broadcasting Association Australia about how they could assist the organisation implement the agreed measures," Turnour said in his first public statement about the besieged community radio.

"I have met with the president of the radio station and members of the management committee and they assured me that they were committed to implementing the agreement with ACMA," Turnour said.

"I have since been advised however that the committee recently refused membership to the station of some 15 people including past members of the executive and presenters with a long time interest in the station.

"The rejected applicants were given no reason for the rejection or advised of their appeal rights under the station’s Constitution. Following a complaint by one of those whose application was rejected, ACMA have today launched another investigation into the station," Jim Turnour said.

The investigation is to focus on whether the station is encouraging the community to participate in the operations of the service, and how the rejections are consistent with the measures the station agreed to during its licence renewal – namely encouraging the community to become members of the station, and encouraging the community to participate.

"I have spoken to the president of the station today and said that I welcome the ACMA investigation and that I don’t believe it is acceptable to reject applications outright," Jim Turnour said.

"It is important that the Management Committee urgently addresses the measures set out in the agreement with ACMA at the meeting of the membership tomorrow evening."

"I intend to rejoin the station to gain a better understanding of the operations of the Community radio station having been involved a number of years ago," Turnour told CairnsBlog.

Meanwhile, president Rod Coutts just wrote to CairnsBlog.

Michael, the Community Broadcasting Authority of Australia have advised me to inform you that you have falsely reported on your website, that the meeting for tomorrow night (Wednesday 20 January) is open to the entire community," Coutts wrote.

"This information on your website is incorrect as a brochure was sent, December 2009, to the members of this association, advising that a General meeting would be held, Wednesday January 20, only for the membership of this radio station," Rod Coutts said.

Wednesday's meeting is a public meeting of a public organisation and this organisation is under serious scrutiny. This is yet another control tactic to block public scrutiny.

I have advised Coutts that there will be a large delegation from the public in attendance.


KFC said...

A quick browse of the intertubes of the AGMs of other Community stations indicate similar problems that have occurred when the management committee starts losing community transparency with added delusions that they are a private club - this is a beauty!

Wendy Richardson said...

Whenever I encounter situations like this, I am reminded of a quote attributed to the gangster Al Capone during his arrest in Chicago for numerous Gangland murders and other Mafia activity.

At the time, he apparently expressed his amazement at being seen as a menace to society.

After all he was only just cleaning up the streets of Chicago!!

Interesting thing, perception. Especially of one's own behaviour.