Former Australian Media Ownership Regulations:
The specific controls over media ownership contained in the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 are as follows.
A person must not control television broadcasting licences whose combined licence area exceeds 75 per cent of the population of Australia, or more than one licence within a licence area (section 53). Foreign persons must not be in a position to control a licence and the total of foreign interests must not exceed 20 per cent (section 57). There are also limits on multiple directorships (section 55) and foreign directors (section 58).
Under section 60 a person must not control:
- acommercial television broadcasting licence and a commercial radio broadcasting licence having the same licence area;
- a commercial television broadcasting licence and a newspaper associated with that licence area;
- or a commercial radio broadcasting licence and newspaper associated with that licence area.
There are also similar limits on cross-media directorships (section 61).
Subscription Television Broadcasting Licences
A foreign person must not have company interests exceeding 20 per cent in a broadcasting subscription licence, and the total of foreign company interests in any licence must not exceed 35 per cent (section 109).
The most important reason these regulations were put into place… was to “enhance public access to a diversity of viewpoints, sources of news, information and commentary” this is now coming to an end.
Media owners can now pretty much own anything they would like. Foreign investors seem to be able to own anything they want. And what does that mean for us?
Well with single owners now being allowed to own Radio, TV and Print Media the views of the owner/producer (and those who pay to have an interest) will be voiced in all mediums. There will be a time when we hear only one voice.
According to Reporters Without Borders in 2004, Australia is in 41st position on a list of countries ranked by Press Freedom; well behind New Zealand (9th) and United Kingdom (28th). This ranking is primarily due to the limited diversity in media ownership.
With the new changes, maybe we’ll drop even lower on the list. And that can’t be good for humans who tend to believe (unquestioning) what they read, see and hear.