What do you know about the federal government’s media package, passed last week by the Senate?

Probably: that the votes of the Nick Xenophon Team’s senators and the amendments of their leader were crucial to the bill’s passing.

Probably: that the “whole media industry” supported this “reform,” which promised to bring analogue-era laws into the digital age.

Probably: that the new laws will enable the local media industry to compete against the new tech giants, Google and Facebook, who are “hoovering” up millions of dollars of advertising revenue that previously went to said local media industry.

Maybe: that the removal of legal restrictions on the ownership and reach of local media companies could lead to a rash of mergers that will somehow favour Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia.

Maybe but not likely: that while all the negotiations were going on, a committee of the Senate has been inquiring into the future of public interest journalism in this country.

Even less likely: that the two biggest commercial media companies in Australia — News Corp and Fairfax Media — didn’t see fit to make a written submission to that inquiry into the future of the very activity they’ve been insisting is threatened by outdated media laws and the rise of Google and Facebook.

If you’re confused by any of this, don’t blame yourself. You’ve been victim to the mainstream news media’s permanent blind spot — reporting on itself. Or, to be more precise, reporting on power plays between governments and media companies…

Read the full article in Inside Story

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