Submission to the Inquiry into Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2006

Broadcasting Mass media Media ownership Australia

The Campaign for Australian Media Diversity (CAMD) is a loose group of organisations and individuals that believe Australian democracy and culture depend upon diverse media ownership and healthy independent public broadcasting. Any government reform of Australia’s media ownership laws should achieve greater diversity of media ownership in Australia. It must not risk any further concentration of media ownership or further loss of Australian culture. CAMD includes the Australian Society of Authors, Australian Writers’ Guild, Choice (formerly the Australian Consumers’ Association), Communications Law Centre, Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia, Free Speech Victoria, Friends of the ABC (Vic), Liberty Victoria, Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), academics and individuals. This submission refers to the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Media Ownership) Bill 2006, especially the removal of the cross-media rules, and one element of the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment (Digital Television) Bill 2006. In summary, the CAMD opposes the Media Ownership Bill. It will not achieve greater diversity of media ownership in Australia. On the contrary, it will allow further concentration. The whole aim of the removal of cross-media restrictions appears to be to permit consolidation of ownership of the main media forms: commercial television, commercial radio and daily newspapers. The bulk of the Bill attempts merely to limit the extent of that consolidation and impose detailed editorial requirements on broadcasters, especially in regional areas, as compensation for it. The Bill should be rejected by the Senate.

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