Oz media regs advance

Proposed changes pass Senate

SYDNEY — The biggest overhaul of Australia’s media landscape in two decades came a step closer to becoming law after controversial proposed changes passed the Senate on Thursday.

The changes, set to go into effect as early as next year, allow foreign companies to buy local media orgs, which was previously banned.

There was also a proposal to abolish cross-media ownership laws, which prevent one company from owning all formats — TV, radio and print — but concerns from Aussie MPs mean companies will be allowed to buy just two formats in any one market.

The media changes require there be a minimum of five news outlets or “distinct voices” in metropolitan areas and four in regional areas.

Opponents of the regs fear greater concentration of the media in a market where there already are too few independent voices. Given the new freedom, predictions are that Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd., owner of Nine Network, may swallow up newspaper publisher Fairfax and that Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd. may make a move into TV.

The legislation now heads to the Lower House, which is a virtual rubber stamp as the government has a clear majority.

Mot everyone fears the changes. Network Ten, which has admitted in the past that it could be either predator or prey, welcomed them.

Topper Nick Falloon said, “Ten has long supported the need to reform Australia’s restrictive and outdated media rules. We believe these changes will lead to more meaningful diversity and allow small and medium-sized media companies to grow and compete.”

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Scene News from Variety

Loading