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Channel Seven Adelaide Pty Limited v. Australian Communications and Media Authority

This case relates to a decision by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that Channel Seven breached a condition of its licence by broadcasting a tobacco advertisement in contravention of s13 of the Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act 1992 (Cth) (the TAP Act).

On 18 July 2010 Channel Seven broadcast a segment on its evening news program entitled "Cheap Cigarette Imports", relating to the importation from Germany and sales by Coles supermarkets of budget brand cigarettes. The segment reported that Coles was selling the imported cigarettes cheaper than the local equivalent products. It included visual images of people smoking, audible and visual messages about tobacco products, and visual images of brands.

The ACMA decided that the segment was a "tobacco advertisement" and that it gave publicity to and promoted tobacco products in contravention of the TAP Act. The ACMA found that the fault element of intention was present in the broadcast.

Channel Seven appealed the ACMA's decision to the Federal Court. At first instance, the Federal Court upheld the ACMA's decision and dismissed Channel Seven's application. This is the appeal from that decision.

In this decision, the Full Court of the Federal Court allowed Channel Seven's appeal and set aside the ACMA's decision that the segment constituted a "tobacco advertisement". The Court decided that the fault element of intention was not present in the broadcast.

For the earlier decision, see: Channel Seven Adelaide Pty Limited v Australian Communications and Media Authority [2013] FCA 812 (14 August 2013).