Political payola

the 'cash for comment' scandal and Australia's protection of political speech

Roy Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article concerns political payola, the practice of paying radio presenters to express favourable political comments on air. Australia, along with the US, seeks to strengthen political debate by requiring disclosure of payola. I argue that whether or not it is disclosed, the commercialisation of speech represented by payola is undemocratic and corrupting, narrowing political discourse. I advocate its prohibition in current affairs radio, as in the UK and Germany. Mindful, however, of the protection the Australian Constitution affords the right to paid political advertising (Australian Capital Television v Commonwealth), I ask how such a ban might be introduced into Australian commercial radio regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-41
Number of pages15
JournalMedia and arts law review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • free speech
  • political expression
  • radio current affairs
  • Australian Constitutional law
  • media law
  • journalists and the law
  • journalism and the law

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Political payola: the 'cash for comment' scandal and Australia's protection of political speech'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this