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The Electronic Media Blackout


As of the end of today, we’ll be in an electronic blackout on political advertising. Not that you’d know it with all the ads that we’ll still see on the interwebs and streaming services… What the what? Today’s look at the quirks of the campaigning process takes a look at what’s in and what’s out.

• Remember ye olde times when our media was newspapers, TV and the wireless? Those days are over, and the rules preventing ‘electronic’ political ads haven’t caught up.

• Designed to prevent political groups from making untested claims in the last moments of the campaign, the blackout on broadcast advertising is a measure that’s been in place for more than two decades.

• What that means is there will be no ads from any political parties, unions, lobby groups – anyone really – on TV or radio from the end of the Wednesday before a Saturday poll. Ads are still allowed in print media.

• But back on ‘electronic’ media – ads are still able to be carried on Facebook, Google, on websites, and on video streaming services.

• The free-to-air TV and radio broadcasters don’t much like the arrangement because they are about the only ones missing out on the action. And many others have pointed out that the rule doesn’t make much sense in the brave new world of changed media consumption behaviours.

So, yes. Unless you’re an internet and newspaper free zone, you’ll still be seeing political ads up until the polls have closed… Soz.