National betting ad ban another blow to free speech

The Gillard government has confirmed what we have long suspected, announcing a national crackdown on what we get to see broadcast during sporting events. The Australian reports that all live betting odds, generic gambling advertising and sponsorship logos will be banned as part of Labor’s new guidelines.

This will also mean that broadcasters will have to submit new codes of compliance to be assessed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The prime minister said:

What’s motivating us is it’s the right thing to do…

I want kids to know their maths, but I don’t want them to learn their maths by watching live odds on sporting events.

Putting aside that this is just a political move to be seen getting tough on Tom Waterhouse in an election year and that it won’t actually do anything to address problem gambling, the real issue here is the freedom of speech implications for broadcasters.

As I wrote last week, freedom of speech also includes the freedom to broadcast. It is no surprise that this government has long believed it should have a role in regulating what people get to say, see and hear in the public domain. Banning what TV licencees get to broadcast is just yet another move to take this agenda another step further.

 

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