Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Speech and the Role of Community Radio

In recent times there has been a groundswell of publicity on various social media regarding Gippsland FM, the local community radio station, and its alleged support for various individuals and their views. Consequently, the station would like to correct some misconceptions and clarify the role of Gippsland FM in serving our local community.

Firstly, it must be appreciated that Gippsland FM is a non-profit voluntary run community owned broadcaster. The community broadcasting sector was established to deliver three key outcomes for Australia – to provide greater programming choices for the community, to provide access to the media for those under-represented or unable to access other media and to allow communities to own and operate broadcast services, thereby diversifying media ownership in Australia.

Therefore, Gippsland FM is simply a conduit or pipeline that carries the messages, views, ambitions, and aspirations of those who make up our local community.  The station has a key role in upholding freedom of speech to support an open democracy that exists in Australia.  However, the station does not have a view on any matters that are expressed by various community members or our broadcasters.  Claims that the station supports particular views because it allows these to be broadcast is simply wrong – and if the station were to censor or inhibit unpopular views, this would also be tantamount to expressing a view by not allowing certain positions to be published.  Importantly, all members of the community have a right to access the station and provide an alternative view.

For those who exercise their right to freedom of speech and express a view on Gippsland FM, the station requires that such broadcasters comply with the relevant laws and abide by a journalist code of ethics.   Importantly, these requirements as applied at Gippsland FM place much higher obligations on our broadcasters than what may be applicable on various social media platforms.  Such requirements are a pre-requisite to accessing the station and the obligations include compliance with defamation, contempt, anti-discrimination, and privacy laws amongst others.  The code of ethics requires that honesty, fairness, and independence be maintained through a respect for truth, balanced reporting and the rights of others.  Further, the station has a policy that offers a right of reply to all local community members who wish to exercise such a right.  In doing so – such views would need to be cognisant of broadcasting requirements.

Gippsland FM is keen to ensure that all members of the community appreciate the role of station and challenges it must meet to ensure trusted and valued programming.  The station remains open to all members of the local community in terms of membership, having a say on station policies and accessing the airwaves.  If you wish to explore any of these issues, check out the station website or email

The community broadcasting Codes of Practice are available on the CBAA website by clicking HERE (opens in new tab)

Gippsland FM Policies are available by hovering over the ‘about’ section on the menu above and clicking policies.
Alternatively, click HERE to view our policies page (opens in new tab)